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KATHY ACKER • WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS • BRION GYSIN 
DEREK JARMAN • JIM JONES • ALEISTER CROWLEY • AUSTIN SPARE 
PSYCHIC TV • CHARLES MANSON • HUBERT SELBY • COLIN WILSON 
ALCHEMY • NEOISM • TATTOOS & PIERCING 

_ And much more _ 










PERHAPS TO DREAM 


In Troy, New York, an Irish bartender is brutally murdered...at Porto Ercole, Italy, 
a renaissance spray-painter collapses and lies dead among the dunes - victim of 
a newly-invented disease...amid the ancient standing stones of England, God's 
own firing squad pulls the triggers on the solstice...in the Bastille, the Marquis De 
Sade calls 'action' on the first snuff movie...in Berlin, by the Wall, Aleister 
Crowley discusses karma with Aldous Huxley as a peer of the realm experiments 
with L.S.D. on television...atop the white cliffs of Dover, Queen Elizabeth I's 
yellow smile cracks her Max Factor as John Dee watches a trident submarine 
breaking through the grey waves...riot police beat cameramen as the trucks roll 
out and the Durex roll on...Hitler's men in black swoop across the fields of middle 
America, mutilating farm animals...the word becomes an image as art galleries 
explode in acrid puffs of ammonium iodide and alchemists' blood, sold later in 
phials...strobe lights blink out as God - a self depreciating robot watching from 
the edge of time - shivers in a lonely permafrost...mushroom clouds of acid rain 
gather darkly on the event horizon. Nightside of Eden, everybody hold still... 

"The finest example of sub<ultural writing 
to emerge during the Eighties." 

- DIVINITY 


NON-FICTION: 
ARTS/CULTURE 
UK: £11.95 
US: $17.95 



e a 



CREATION BOOKS 































RAPID EYE 1 

Edited by Simon Dwyer 
ISBN 1 871592 22 4 

Copyright © Simon Dwyer and individual contributors 1989, 1993, 1995 
First published by Rapid Eye Publishing Ltd, 1989. 

Second revised edition published 1993 by Creation Books. 

This third revised edition published 1995 by 
CREATION BOOKS 
83, Clerkenwell Road 
London EC1, UK 

Tel: 0171-430-9878 Fax: 0171-242-5527 
World rights reserved 

Copyright © Simon Dwyer & Creation Books 1995 
A Butcherbest Production 

Editor/Founder: 

Simon Dwyer 

Design, Layout & Typeset: 

Sailorboy PCP, Simon Dwyer 

Logo Design: 

Hugh Davies 

Cover Design: 

Simon Dwyer, Bradley Davis 
Front Cover: 

Aldous Huxley photographed by Cecil Beaton. 

Used with kind permission of Sothebv's. London. 

Frontispiece: 

Original drawing for Rapid Eye Movement, 
executed and donated by Andy Warhol, 1982. 

Acknowledgements: 

Thanks to Fiona Dwyer, Mick, James Williamson, David Brooks, Ken Johnson and Ann, Vale, 
Paula, Ian Blake, Chris Saunders, Dr. Terence DuQuesne, Jack Stevenson, Pat Burchill, June, and 
Hugh Davies. 

U.K. bookstore distribution: 

BOOKPOINT, 39 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon 0X14 4TD. 

Tel: 01235-400400 Fax: 01235-832068 

U.K. non-bookstore distribution and mail order: 

AK PRESS, 22 Lutton Place, Edinburgh EH8 9PE. Tel/Fax: 0131-667-1507 
U.S. bookstore distribution: 

SUBTERRANEAN COMPANY, PO Box 160, 265 S. 5th Street, Monroe, OR 97456. 

Tel: 503-847-5274 Fax: 503-847-6018 

U.S. non-bookstore distribution and mail order: 

AK PRESS, PO Box 40682, San Francisco, CA 94140-0682. 

Tel: 415-923-1429 Fax: 415-923-0607 
Canadian distribution: 

MARGINAL, Unit 103, 277 George Street, N. Peterborough, Ontario K9J 3G9. 

Tel/Fax: 705-745-2326 
Australia & NZ: 

PERIBO PTY LTD, 58 Beaumont Road, Mount Ku-ring-gai, NSW 2080. 

Tel: 02-457-0011 Fax: 02^457-0022 



CONTENTS 


THE FALL OF ART 

William S Burroughs 
1 

FROM ATAVISM TO ZYKLON B 

Genesis P-Orridge 
& The Temple Of Psychic Youth 
Simon Dwyer 
5 

SYBARITE AMONG THE SHADOWS 

An Invocation Of Aleister Crowley 
R. C. McNeff 
47 

DREAMACHINE 

An Information Montage 
Simon Dwyer 
52 

BECAUSE AND COSMOS ' 

C. John Taylor 
56 

THE VIDEODROME 

Situationism & Death TV 
Mark Downham 
64 

WORDS FROM A ROOM 

An Interview With Hubert Selby Jnr. 

Pat Hollis 
72 

DEAD FINGERS TALK 

An Interview With William S Burroughs 
V. Vale 
IS 

THE JOHNSON FAMILY 

William S Burroughs 
84 

SMILE 

An Introduction To Neoism 
A Rapid Eye Report 
87 

TIME MIRRORS 

The Art Of Austin Osman Spare 
Genesis P-Orridge 
111 


THE UNDYING MONSTER 

Hitler & Nazi UFOs 
Ian Blake 
116 

I BECOME A MURDERESS 

Kathy Acker 
124 

TANTRA 

An Introduction 
Sahajanath 
131 

THROUGH A SCREEN, DARKLY 

An Audience With Derek Jarman 
Simon Dwyer 
135 

THE GEMSTONE FILE INVESTIGATION 

Who Killed The Kennedys? 

Nick Toczek 
151 

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF ALCHEMY 

Kenneth Rayner Johnson 
164 

"BRAZIL" 

The Last Of England 
Simon Dwyer 
171 

SEX, CRIME AND THE OCCULT 

Colin Wilson 
209 

I AM THE BEAST 

The Trial Testimony Of 

Charles Manson 
214 

A REVOLUTIONARY SUICIDE 

Transcript of Rev. Jim Jones 
& The People's Temple of Christ 
Simon Dwyer 
224 

TWO DRAGONS PLAYING WITH A PEARL 

The Ancient Art Of Footbinding 
Nancy MacKenzie 
230 




CONTENTS 


BODYSHOCKS 

An Interview With Mr. Sebastian 

Simon Dwyer 

233 

THE BLACK BOX 

Kathleen McAuliffe 
238 

HIS NAME WAS MASTER 

In Memory Of Brion Gysin 

Genesis P-Orridge 

242 

Epilogue: 

A THANKSGIVING PRAYER 

William S Burroughs 
247 


THE FIRST BOOK, CALLED 

GENESIS 


JN THE BEGINNING GOD created the heaven 

2 and the earth. And the earth was without form, 
and void; and darkness was upon the face of the 
deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face 

3 of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: 

4 and there was light. And God saw the light, that 
it was good: and God divided the light from the 

5 darkness. And God called the light Day, and the 
darkness he called Night. And the evening and 
the morning were the first day. 

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the 
midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters 

1 from the waters. And God made the firmament, 
and divided the waters which were under the 
firmament from the waters which were above the 

8 firmament: and it was so. And God called the 
firmament Heaven. And the evening and the 
morning were the second day. 

9 And God said. Let the waters under the heaven 
be gathered together unto one place, and let the 

10 dry land appear: and it was so. And God called 
the dry land Earth; and the gathering together 
of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that 

11 it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring 
forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit 
tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in 

12 itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth 
brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed 


after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose 
seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw 
that it was good. And the evening and the mom- 13 

ing were the third day. 

And God said, Let there be lights in the firma- 14 
ment of the heaven to divide the day from the 
night; and let them be for signs, andfor seasons, 
andfor days, and years: and let them befor lights 15 

in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon 
the earth: and it was so. And God made two great \ 6 

lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the 
lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars 
also. And God set them in the firmament of the 17 

heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule 18 
over the day and over the night, and to divide the 
light from the darkness: and God saw that it was 
good. And the evening and the morning were the ] 9 

fourth day. 

And God said. Let the waters bring forth abun- 20 

dantly the moving creature that hath life, and 
fowl that may fly above the earth in the open 
firmament of heaven. And God created great 21 
whales, and every living creature that moveth, 
which the waters brought forth abundantly, after 
their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: 
and God saw that it was good. And God blessed 22 

them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill 
the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in 
the earth. 






INTRODUCTION 



"From dreams to reality is a long way. 


—Ferdinand Cheval 


"Throughout history there have always been forms of art alien to established 
culture and which ipso facto have been neglected and finally lost without trace ." 

—Roger Cardinal 


"You have to paint things black if you want to make future possibilities more 
vivid." 

—Michel Foucault 


I had been wondering for some weeks what to say 
to introduce Rapid Eye. It was, after all, so obvious. 
Then, as fate would have it, a few hours before 
deadline I was given an angle. Or, rather, I was given 
a word. 

My good and clever friend David Brooks rang me up 
and gave it to me, his voice crackling with 
excitement down the line of cyberspace. Actually, he 
mentioned a word which he had just invented as the 
title of an alternative bookshop he was planning to 
open - and I stole it. I believe that this process of 
plagiarism is called the 'acid burn' in contemporary 
parlance. A very post modernist thing to do. 

The word he gave me was "Occulture". 

This new word obviously suggests both Culture and 
the Occult. To me, this "occulture" is not a secret 
culture as the word might suggest, but a culture that 
is in some way hidden and ignored, or wilfully 


marginalised to the extremities of our society. A 
culture of individuality and sub-cults, a culture of 
questions that have not been properly identified - 
let alone answered - and therefore, do not get a fair 
representation in the mainstream media. 

It is a culture that has been misinterpreted. Not 
because it is 'evil' or wrong, but because it is 
generally apolitical and amoral, unashamedly artistic, 
experimental, undogmatic, intellectual and oddly 
evolutionary. It is a sub-culture that is forming a 
question that 'reality' alone cannot answer. Which is 
why it makes people nervous. 

This, is seems, is what Rapid Eye has always been 
about. The word now belongs to everyone. All these 
wor(l)ds are yours. 

We give you Occulture. 

—Simon Dwyer, Editor, 1989. 



THE FALL OF ART 


William S Burroughs 


Some years ago in London, I asked Jasper Johns what 
painting was all about - what are painters really 
doing? He countered with another question: what is 
writing about? I did not have an answer then; I have 
an answer now: The purpose of writing is to make it j 
happen. 

What we call "art” - painting, sculpture, writing, 
dance, music - is magical in origin. That is, it was 
originally employed for ceremonial purposes to 
produce very definite effects. In the world of magic' I 
nothing happens unless someone wants it to 
happen, wills it to happen, and there are certain / 
magical formulae to channel and direct the will. The 
artist is trying to make something happen in the 
mind of the viewer or reader. In the days of 
cows-in-the-grass painting, the answer to "What is 
the purpose of such painting?" was very simple: to 
make what is depicted happen in the mind of the 
viewer; to make him smell the cows and the grass, 
hear the whistling rustic. The influence of art is no 
less potent for being indirect. We can leave riots' 
fires, and wrecks to the journalists. The influence of 
art has a long-range cultural effect. Jack Kerouac, 
Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso - the Beats wrote a 
world-wide cultural revolution. Remember that four- 
letter words could not appear on a printed page 
thirty-odd years ago. Now, with the breakdown of 
censorship and the freeing of the World, the New 
York Times has to print four-letter words used by the 
President of the United States. 

We can trace the tremendous indirect effect of the 


written word; what about the indirect effect of 
painting? I have explained how in 1959 Brion Gysin 
said that writing is fifty years behind painting and 
applied the montage technique to writing - a 
technique which had been used in painting for fifty 
years. As you know, painters had the whole 
representational position knocked out from under 
them by photography, and there was in fact a 
photography exhibition around the turn of the 
century entitled "Photography - The Death Of 
Painting". Premature, but painting did have to get a 
new look. So painters turned first to montage. 

Now the montage is actually much closer to the 7 
fact of perception than representational painting. J 
Take a walk down a city street and put what you 
have just seen down on canvas. You have seen half 
a person cut in two by a car, bits and pieces of street 
signs and advertisements, reflections from shop 
windows - a montage of fragments. And the same 
thing happens with words. Remember that the 
written word is an image. Brion Gysin's cut-up 
method consists of cutting up pages of text and 
re-arranging them in montage combinations. 
Representational painting is dead, unless perhaps 
photo-realism ever takes hold. Nobody paints cows 
in the grass any more. Montage is an old device in 
painting. But if you apply the montage method to 
writing, you are accused by the critics of 
promulgating a cult of unintelligibility. Writing is still 
confined in the sequential representational 
straightjacket of the novel, a form as arbitrary as the I 



2 • RAPID EYE 1 



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Brion Gysin, ‘Rub Out The Word'; collage, c.1959. 


("■"sonnet and as far removed from the actual facts of 
I human perception and consciousness as that 
(^fifteenth-century poetical form. Consciousness is a 
cut-up; life is a cut-up. Every time you walk down 
the street or look out the window, your stream of 
consciousness is cut by random factors. 

Painting in the past hundred years has come from 
an exclusively representational position, where any 
number of artists could cover the same material to 
such a state of fragmentation that every artist must 
now have his own special point on which there is 
only room for one artist. Any number of artists can 
paint country landscapes, but there is only room for 
one Warhol soup can. It's every artist his own 
movement now. Here is a question for all schools: If 
art has undergone such drastic alteration in the past 
hundred years, what do you think artists will be 
doing in fifty or a hundred years from now? Of 
course we can foresee expansion into the realm of 
exploding art... A self-destroying TV set, refrigerator, 
washing-machine, and electric stove going off, 
leaving a shambles of a gleaming modern 
apartment; the housewife's dream goes up behind a 
barrier of shatterproof glass to shield the spectators. 

Now here's another angle for you young art 
hustlers: There is an explosive known as ammonium 
iodide made by pouring ammonia over iodide 
crystals or mixing it with tincture for brush work. 
This compound when it dries is so sensitive that a fly 


will explode it. I remember how I used to while away 
the long 1920s afternoons with sugar sprinkled 
around little heaps of ammonium iodide waiting for 
the flies to explode in little puffs of purple vapour. 
So you paint your canvas with ammonium iodide and 
syrup and release a swarm of flies in the gallery... or 
the people walking around set it off with their 
vibrations... or a team of choir boys touches it off 
with pop guns... And metal sodium explodes 
violently on contact with water; so you paint in 
sodium (which has a beautiful sheen like the side of 
a silver fish in clear water), and stand well back, and 
shoot it with a water rifle, or induce a spitting cobra 
to spit on it and get blown apart. Can sacrificial art 
be far behind? Cut a chicken's head off and paint 
with the gushing blood. Disembowel a sheep and 
paint with its intestines. Or you can do a combo with 
the sodium number. 

Then there will be the famous Mad Bear Floyd, a 
billionaire painter who covered a twenty-foot 
montage of porno pictures with a thousand dollar 
bills soaked in ammonium iodide... the montage was 
laid in the middle of the gallery, then a hamper of 
thousand-dollar bills rained down and set off the 
charge, burning a million dollars out of circulation 
while his agent sold the burnt canvas for $10 million 
on the spot. 

Could this proliferation of competitive angles 
precipitate a revival of old-time potlatches? The 
potlatch was a competitive destruction of property 
carried out until one contestant was ruined and 
frequently died of shame on the spot. It is 
interesting to consider American tycoons sitting on 
this game - blowing up their factories and mines and 
oil wells, burning their crops and sloshing oil on 
their beaches, irradiating their land, irrigating with 
salt water, letting the frozen food rot, burning Rolls 
Royces and Bentleys, original Rembrandts, destroying 
Greek statues with air hammers... the American team 
drops atom bombs on America while China and 
Russia match us bomb for bomb on their own 
ground. 

The potlatch was invented by the Northwest Coast 
Indians in the area that is now British Columbia, and 
it occupied most of their time. Objects destroyed at 
these uncomfortable occasions included salmon oil, 
blankets, and coppers. Salmon oil poured on an 
open fire at the centre of the room frequently 
singed honoured guests in the front row, who were 
obliged by protocol to evince no signs of displeasure. 
The coppers were engraved shields of thin copper 
about three feet by two feet, and are now highly 
valued as curios. 

A copper receives its value from the number of 
potlatches it has weathered: 'THIS IS THE GREAT 
COPPER BEFORE: WHICH OTHER COPPERS PISS 
THEMSELVES LIKE BITCH DOGS'. And cowardly 
coppers shrink back, losing value. You see, a potent 
copper like this represents so many value units, just 
as modern art objects may derive value from a series 
of competitive manipulations: this soup can 
represents fifty burnt kitchen manipulations: this 




THE FALL OF ART • 3 


soup can represents fifty burnt kitchen chairs, twenty 
urinals, and a Wyeth pig. 

Competitive over-inflation of values could lead to 
La Chute de I'Art, a total collapse of the art market. 
Imagine the artist Bourse where all the painters 
stand by their pictures - frenzied phone calls from 
broker to collector... "Your margin's wiped out, BJ. 
You gotta cover with the gilt-edge stuff-you know 
what I mean: Manets, Renoirs, Rembrandts, 
Picassos..." And then: PICASSO SLUMPS SHARPLY AS 
HIS ENTIRE OUTPUT IS DUMPED ON THE MARKET BY 
FRANTIC DEALERS... As an artist falls off the Board 
he is obligated by the Board of Health to surrender 
his pictures to the public incinerator. What art and 
what artists would survive the holocaust? And how's 
this for an angle, BJ? Now this ART grabs you by the 
balls, see? It hits you in the stomach and dampens 
your eyes. So that artist gets behind his picture like 
Punch and Judy and reaches right out through it and 
grabs a critic by his lapels or slugs him in the guts 
and sprays him with tear gas. Lots of ways you can 
slant this. Dead cows in the grass. Dogs leap out of 
a picture. Vernissage guests savagely clubbed by 
picture cops. It finally gets so that pictures of 
dangerous animals, electric chairs, riots, fires, and 
explosions have the gallery to themselves. Will cows 
in the grass make a comeback? A critic was gored 
yesterday. Another drowned in a Monet river and a 
Bacon exhibition has given rise to unfavourable 
mutations... 

What has happened here? Art has become literal 
and returned to its magical function of making it 
happen, after a long exile in the realms of 
imagination where its appetite for happenings has 
become inordinate. Now suddenly art makes its 
lethal eruption into the so-called real world. Writing 
and painting were in the beginning and the word 
was written image. Now painters paint a future 
before it is written, having outstripped the retarded 
twin, writing, and left it back there with the ABC's. 
Will writing catch up? 

A writer who writes a book about a virgin soil 
epidemic, impregnating his pages with the virus 
described... this book about Poland in a typhus 
epidemic has typhus lice concealed in the bindings, 
to be released as book-of-the-month-club ladies turn 
the pages. Mektoub. It is written. Others have 
radioactive pages dusted lightly with botulism. The 
reader is no longer safely reading about sharks while 
she belches out chocolate fumes; on the page is a 
powerful shark attractant. Others scorn such crude 
tricks and rely on the powers of magic - potent 
spells and curses, often formed by human sacrifice, 
flutter from these pestilent pages. 

“Beauty kills. Beauty is the murderer," in the 
words of Gregory Corso, and painting is reunited 
with its stupid brother, writing, in books done 
entirely in pictographs. And by now all books are 
scented with the appropriate odours and readers are 
provided with scent bottles for renewal... Musky 
Ozone, Rain on Horseflesh, Empty Locker Rooms... 
Finally comes the Master of the Empty Page, which 



William S Burroughs, ‘Over The Top’ 


can only be read by initiates... 

LA CHUTE DU MOT... what survives the 
literalization of art is the timeless ever-changing 
world of magic caught in the painter's brush, or the 
writer's words, bits of vivid and vanishing detail. In 
space any number of painters can dance on the end 
of a brush, and the writer makes a soundless bow 
and disappears into the alphabet. 






4 • RAPID EYE 1 


AND HIS NAME WAS ROVER 


"I don't think anyone knows really... what happens 
when you die, I mean." 

"I know," he said smugly. "There was a little dog 
and his name was Rover. And when he was dead he 
was dead all over." 

This irritated her. She thought he was bigoted. 

"Oh, by the way. While you were in town there 
was a dog in the yard... acting most strangely. I'm 
almost sure..." 

"My God, the kids." 

"I kept them in the house, of course. Then it threw 
back its head and howled." 

She shuddered, remembering the abject misery and 
despair of that sound. 

"No collar?" 

"No nuttin." 

When people live together they will throw out 
something like "no nuttin" hoping it will turn out to 
be humorous or in some way portentous. 

He finished his martini. "I'd better go out and 
have a look." 

He crossed to his gun cabinet and opened it with 
a complicated key that looked like some futuristic 
instrument. He liked the feel of it as it slid into the 
lock. He turned to her. "Doggie big?" 

"About thirty pounds. I'd say... yellowish brown 
fur... longish muzzle... narrow head. Young dog." 

He decided the .12 gauge was definitely too much 
gun. 

"If I'm going to overkill the wretched brute might 
as well use the .375. He acquired it from a dead 
uncle by getting to the house before the plundering 
herd. He'd fired it once at the range and got a gutsy 
sensation of pure power like throwing a thunder¬ 
bolt. Like as not kill a cow or a peasant in the next 
county. He decided to use her .20 gauge pump 
action skeet gun. There was only a half hour of 
daylight left... better take the flash. He didn't relish 
getting caught in the dark with a mad dog prowling 
about, could leap out at him from a bush like God 
jumped on Moses. 

He made the perimeter of the house, looked in the 
laundry room and the old hen house. The hens had 
to be moved because of the hideous grating noises 
of the roosters screaming day and night at ten 
minute intervals. 

"But we have to have fresh eggs," she insisted. 

"What good are fresh eggs if I can't sleep?" 

So they moved the hen house three hundred yards 
from the house, and they were all killed by weasels 
or skunks or racoons. So they decided to get in some 
Guinea hens. They can fly... roost in trees at night. 
The Guinea hens were on order and they looked 
forward eagerly to their arrival. What would the 
eggs be like? 

Next day he cautioned her about keeping the 
children in the house and to keep the .20 gauge 
loaded and ready. 

"And kill the dog on sight." 

"I wasn't quite sure, you understand," she 


explained. "It just might be a neighbourhood dog, 
and you know how much trouble that sort of thing 
can cause." 

He knew. In Mexico he was once accused of 
poisoning a neighbour's dog because he'd been 
overheard to say someone should poison it. 

"But I didn't poison the dog," he protested to a 
police lieutenant, slim elegant and impenetrably 
stupid in riding boots. "I just said someone should 
poison it." 

"It comes to the same thing. You were heard to 
threaten the dog. You had the motive and the 
opportunity to kill the dog. I have studied 
criminology," he said firmly. "The Gonzales have 
suffered greatly from the loss of their pet. The 
children especially are decimated." (Would it were 
true) "Small presents... regaltios would lift their 
spirits." 

It cost $500 in regaltios. They were eating him a 
rf becita at a time. Finally he fled Mexico with paper 
^"hangers. He was proud to know that a paper hanger 
is a bum check artist. 

The light was failing fast. He turned on the flash 
and directed a beam of light into the barn. It was 
only a shell; the animal's eyes glinted green in the 
light and he raised the gun. A racoon. He lowered 
the gun. After all, they had no chickens left to lose. 
But the sight of the animal strengthened his resolve 
to find the mad dog and kill it. He could be 
preventing an epidemic. 

"All is in the not done, the diffidence that 
faltered," he told himself firmly. He remembered a 
funeral director whose motto had been 'unfaltering 
service'. 

"It's not time to falter," his father said. But 
nothing was to be gained by tramping about in the 
dark. The dog could be miles away by now. He 
walked back to the kitchen door. 

—William S Burroughs 



FROM ATAVISM TO ZYKLOIM B 

Genesis P-Orridge And The Temple Of Psychic Youth 

(From A To B And Back Again) 


Simon Dwyer 


"Western people often see obscenity where there is only symbolism." 

—Sir John Woodroffe, Shakti & Shakta 

"Whoever wishes to be creative, must first destroy and smash accepted values." 

—Nietzsche 


"'Cults' he said thoughtfully, examining a tape report grinding from the receptor. 
'What about cults?' Sung-Wu asked faintly. 'Any stable society is menaced by cults; 
our society is no exception. Certain lower strata are axiomatically dissatisfied. In 
secret they form fanatic, rebellious bands. They meet at night; they insidiously 
express inversions of accepted norms; they delight in flaunting basic mores and 
customs'." 

—Philip K. Dick, The Turning Wheel 


Social cohesion and individual liberty are in a state 
of permanent conflict or uneasy compromise. The 
result of this friction being a variety of cults, which 
fall like a veil of sparks, lighting the dark. 

CRACK! Kathy Acker leaves the stage, her 
American brogue giving way to a whipping 
electronic beat that incessantly pounds the sweaty 
walls of a subterranean nightclub. A howl of wolves 
turns the beery air to frost. Necks tingle and hackles 
rise to the speeches of Hitler and JFK that spill from 
the speakers, the 23 TV screens on stage swim to life. 


forming a giant mirror that glows with recurring 
images. The ornaments of power, the universal 
symbols, blend into hypnotic blurs of textural, 
throbbing colour: tacky 3-D postcard impressions of 
the Virgin Mary cut with dangling footage of faces 
caressed by hands: Third World tribal initiation 
ceremonies (which are acceptable), juxtapose with 
equally bloody-looking but innocuous Temple Ov 
Psychick Yquth "rituals" (unacceptable). The 
atmosphere becomes stifling. 

CRACK! Art school video techniques look so much 



6 • RAPID EYE 1 



more convincing when carried out with self-discipline 
and purpose. The purpose is mass hallucination, the 
method enchantment, and enchantment is exactly 
what is taking place here on all levels. The hypnotic 
elements of strobe lights, the whirr of the Dream 
Machine, the primal mantra of "Buddhist" drum 
rhythms and rock guitars, the spell of meaningless 
oratory. The many-headed beast of the crowd is 


plunged into a pulsating trance dance. An angel, or 
maybe a devil is invoked. Jim Jones cackles his last 
hyena laugh as his followers make their sound in the 
white night. 

CRACK! A small, elfin figure bawls with tuneless 
violence into a microphone that's threatening to 
choke him as he stands perilously straddled between 
two monitors, Der Putsch leather and tattoos 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 7 


glistening in the heat. Wild eyes popping from a 
shaven skull. The classic rockist image is cut, only to 
be derided by a large furry hat perched 
incongruously on the top of his head. A music 
journalist nearby, wondering what such mi llinery 
signifies, scribbles something meaningful. " ' 

A cute Berlin blonde spike-top rises purposefully 
head and shoulders above the pulsating silhouette of 
heads at the front of the stage. She reaches up and 
grabs the singer's crotch. Fumbling, she tries to 
perform fellatio, but the singer instead jumps 
frog-like into the rippling crowd, still bawling. 
Equipment gets damaged. People have sex. Er, this 
must be rock'n'roll! The journalist scowls and 
scribbles feverishly... 

By two-thirty the last stragglers wind their way out 
through the debris and onto the street. Some 
ashen-faced, trembling, nauseated. Others angry, 
some bored, unimpressed, some ecstatic. Few are 
exactly sure what they've just seen. A large black 
Psychic Cross has been sprayed on the wall above 
them - the same symbol as they wear sewn onto 
their grey jackets and hand-painted Kaftans, or have 
tattooed across their (wasted) biceps. It hangs silently 
over the city in the sickly yellow buzz of the 
streetlights. Marking the spot like a gravestone, a 
piece of history and mystery. It may bury itself like a 
martial artist's star in the subconscious levels of some 
neophytes' minds, perchance to enter into their 
dreams that night. 

The symbol looks aptly like a strange TV aerial. Its 
tripach cross design inviting interpretations involving 
Christ and the two thieves, or a timeline 
incorporating the past, present, and future. It's 
similar to the alchemical glyph meaning 'very 
poisonous' and the Japanese symbolic cipher, (or 
Kana), for 'Fuck'. It's also reminiscent of the 
Fascist/Christian emblem in Peter Watkins' '60s cult 
pic Privilege that culminated in Paul Jones' ultimate 
pop rally, and a dead ringer for the Samurai 
ideogram meaning 'Master'. It can also be cleverly 
arranged from the letters P.T.V., and it is an outside 
broadcast of this particular company that we have 
just experienced. 

If the main criterion for the creating of any cult is 
the stoking of fanaticism, then in this world of 
graphic corporate identity, of Capitalists making 
capital out of man's innate symbolism (from the 
Christian Cross to the bird on a Bardaycard) - it's 
only logical that such fanaticism must also be stoked 
with its own symbols. 

The singer and co-director of the company, a 
geomancer named Genesis P-Orridge, has a stained 
glass Psychic Cross hanging in his East London 
apartment, the morning sun illuminating it as he 
talks. 

A copy of the PTV video of Catalan flickers on the 
large colour television in the corner, director Derek 
Jarman playing pyromaniacally with the flames of 
Jordi Vallis' car as it lies on the beach outside 
Salvador Dali's house - crashed on the spot where 
Un Chien Andalou was filmed. Gen's daughter 



Caresse watches daddy on TV as she lies across the 
couch with Tanith the dog, baby Genesse gurgles 
happily on his lap, steam rises from the cups, as if in 
a Jacques Brel song. 

As a father and now, approaching 40, homeowner. 
Genesis is exemplary. Many critics find this fact at 
odds with his stage persona, and want to know what 
his 'real' name is. Perhaps it is because people are 
used to pop stars, artists and their ilk creating a false 
public image that is at odds with their own 
character, as 'Entertainment'. 

His real name, though, is Genesis P-Orridge, 
(changed by deed poll in the early '70s from Neil 
Megson) and of all the people working, even on the 
periphery of this area that I've known, Genesis is the 
one least interested in entertainment. Awkward and 
stubborn, sometimes to the point of exasperation, he 
just isn't the type of person to indulge the fantasies 
of fans and record companies' press rooms, and even 
if he were, he would hardly need to change. His 
lifestyle is unusual in some respects. The most weird 
and unpalatable aspect of his character really being 
that he attempts to perceive the world in a manner 
free from moral posturing and finite possibilities, 
and pays no lip service to those institutions that do. 
Being all-too-honest about what he thinks and does, 
he represents a commodity that the Entertainment 
Industry cannot handle with a bargepole - reality. 

Reality, in the right hands, can be very, very 
dangerous. The fact that P-Orridge has never claimed 
to be particularly intelligent, original, or talented in 
his handling of it, only serves to make matters worse. 
He has thus been subjected to myriad forms of 
censorship and pressure. Although both his home 
and the Temple offices have been raided by the boys 
in blue, and British Telecom, HM Customs & Excise 
and the Post Office have taken actions against him. 




P-P-P-Orridge (photo: Steve McNicholas) 


rarely are such blunt instruments resorted to. deserves any vilification he gets as he has brought it 

'Control' protects itself from attack in far more upon himself.) 

subtle forms if possible. Its deft conditioning of This protection of ignorance manifests itself in a 

people, particularly the type of people who reach variety of ways. From death threats and rat poison 

positions of power in organisations like those in civil being shoved through the P-Orridge family letterbox, 

service, means that their small-mindedness and to the wilful misrepresentation of Psychic TV and the 

dogmatism act as a normally impenetrable shield of Temple in the media. TV stations baulk at properly 

prejudice and stupidity. (The underlying philosophy reporting the phenomenon (like LWT turning down 

seems to be that "he is a weirdo", therefore, it Ben Elton's ideas for a 60 minute South Of Watford 

seems, "he MUST be breaking the law, or special on the Temple), or punish those responsible 

threatening to the law in some way", and so for giving it fair coverage (Spain's TVE company 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 9 



sacking the makers of the La Edad De Oro arts show 
after they did a special on PTV watched by 14 million 
viewers, many of whom complained after the 
programme was aired). Record executives are also 
hot for the group one minute, then remarkably cold 
the next (contracts apparently being nixed at 
boardroom level). PTV's paranoia doesn't give 
credence to the notions of suppression, but the 
incidents are there most brazenly illustrated in the 
pages of the Music Press and the trendy listings 
magazines. With their notoriously fickle, censorious 
and sanctimonious reportage, they remain the most 
consistent culprits. 

Young, untrained cub reporters are (having just 
left home), likely to be prey to feelings of insecurity 
and confusion about their identity, so in the facile 
world of 'Pop' subjects of substance are targets to 
get the poison pen into and create a name for 
oneself. That may be forgiven. What cannot be 
forgiven is the creating of a climate where 
everything new or potentially serious is automatically 
derided, where blanket cynicism is somehow 
presented as being superior to investigation, where 
'style' is championed over substance. 

Although P-Orridge has prompted reams of 
misinformation and openly hateful reporting (often 
penned by the most supposedly 'liberal' of stringers), 
the situation has generally improved over the last 
few years. Genesis appears either to take the piss out 
of card-carrying NUJ enquirers and feeds them the 
sensationalistic claptrap they furtively desire - spiced 
with a sarcastic humour that's often received as 


obtusely as it's reported; or, he adopts an opposite 
approach, being sickeningly pleasant and lucid in 
this tea-trollied scene of domestic bliss, daughters 
and dog always on hand. 

"It can be very disillusioning," says P-Orridge, 
blowing into his tea. “You just end up not 
wanting to have anything to do with the majority 
of this society. Because this society now really 
seems to exist through its media more than in any 
other way. And the media are generally absolute 
low-life. Intellectually small and very unskilled at 
their job. ” 

After the initial shock surrounding the group's 
explosive debut in 1981, reporting of PTV - albeit 
on the most innocuous of levels - has gradually 
become more positive. P-Orridge attracts much 
deference in some hip circles, (even though few of 
these same people know what he is actually 
doing), as if the system is now trying unconsciously 
to absorb him and his group into its antiseptic void 
- over tea and sympathy - just as it did with Crass 
(arguably the only other British group in the last 
decade to present such a precise, informed and 
genuine threat). Journalists like flirting with 
groups and individuals they perceive as being 
'threats' (hence Nick Kent's obsession with Keith 
Richard of the Stones, for example) providing 
there is nothing serious intended. But groups who 
offer anything more genuinely subversive than 
gobbing on handicapped kids or puking up in 
airport lounges are either ignored or somehow made 
safe. In a world where no-one remembers what you 
wrote last week anyway, it may not matter, but 
P-Orridge, having now spent most of his life in the 
public eye to varying degrees, is a past master at 
such media games and is well aware of the irony 
implicit in the media's current, often positive, 
treatment of the Temple. 

That irony being that the Temple does do some of 
the things the suspicious press hates it for. It does, 
however, do them for different reasons than the 
press generally presume or are even able to perceive, 
and it does them with a degree of responsibility and 
research usually unheard of in the fly-by-night 
microworld of Pop, as we will discover. 

Still though, given the level of misinterpretation, 
misinformation and downright bloody-mindedness 
that has hallmarked the reportage of PTV, The 
Temple, and his earlier outfit Throbbing Gristle, it's 
hardly surprising that the most common impression 
people have of P-Orridge is one of almost total 
misunderstanding. Perhaps another reason for this is 
that the only constant running through his life and 
work is that it is in a state of permanent flux. In a 
system purporting to be based on anti-dogmatism, 
active research and observation, and the shunning of 
formulae, it could hardly be anything else. As such it 
would be impossible to form a finite opinion, draw 
a conclusion, entirely agree with, or entirely 
subscribe to, the P-Orridge model for living, or 'join' 
his cult, so full as it is of apparent contradictions and 
confusions. And that, of course, is exactly what it 



















10 • RAPID EYE 1 



Coum Transmissions performance 

must be if the tribal, belief-based system of Control 
is to be subjectively perceived and demolished. 

The Temple is a movement that combines several 
sets of values that are not easily harmonised. For 
example, on the one hand it exhibits a ruthlessness, 
always seeking conflict; on the other, it cherishes 
literature, philosophy and the arts for their own 
sake. As Bertrand Russell pointed out, this sort of 
superficial contradiction need not be wrong-headed. 
These were, in fact, just the values that often 
co-existed in the Italian Renaissance; embodied then 
by the likes of Popes who'd employ mercenaries and 
wage wars, while preaching peace and 
commissioning Michelangelo, and embodied now in 
the likes of Pope P-Orridge. A man given over to 
wearing 'secular' dog collars while overseeing what 
he thinks of as something of an art and social 
movement. 

The Temple itself is based on such apparent 
paradox. Its ideas must not be presented in a 
dogmatic manner, but at the same time it must 
communicate in ways in which people will 
understand. Its methods and terminology therefore 
take on the form of illustrations, borrowing elements 
from religious and political groups and their media 
in order to investigate the effects of their 
conditioning. A rather convenient double-bluff is 
played as such avenues are still used to service the 
spreading of the Temple's own substitute 
propaganda. 

P-Orridge himself must shun the cult adoration 
and trappings of 'leadership' his undoubted charm 
and intelligence foster, or he risks encouraging 
'followers' who are quite happy to relinquish 



TG in Garageland 


responsibility for their own lives and in so doing 
nullify what are claimed to be the true desires of the 
Temple. He's aware that he often skates on thin 
theoretical ice, but in finding himself the focus of 
attention, is not one to pass up any opportunities for 
publicity. He is, though, far from being a star. 

Stars are unavailable. They are inaccessible but for 
glossy stills and short bursts of activity on pieces of 
plastic and celluloid. Few are as consistently self- 
deprecating or as just plain silly as P-Orridge can be, 
and who ever heard of a star saying he was 
"uninteresting" in one breath and then encouraging 
the people who come to his performances to bootleg 
them in the next? 

Many hectares of newsprint have been devoted to 
the subject of P-Orridge, particularly concentrated on 
his supposed 'weirdness' and vision, his 
disillusionment with society from an early age and 
his remarkably intricate responses to that situation. 
Few articles seem to have satisfactorily explained, or 
even identified this disillusionment and its twin 
feeling of isolation that would, in many individuals, 
have resulted in a life of crime or more lonesome 
social maladjustment. 

Behaviour patterns and modes of thinking are not 
only created by external forces, but also by internal 
ones. We are all products of conditioning, but we 
are also all products of chemical balances within our 
bodies. Gen's test-tube contains an illuminating 
imbalance. 

Being treated with steroids for an asthmatic 
condition when he was four years old, his faith in 
the medical profession was (and remains to this day) 
shattered when it transpired that the side effect of 
the treatment had caused irreparable damage to his 
adrenal gland, leaving him unable to produce his 
own supply of the vital drug. To remedy this, he was 
to have to take regular does of adrenalin in tablet 
form. 









GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 11 



Genesis P-Orridge 


"I am split in different places 
I am split from everything 
...All this energy destroys me 
Killing my security 
...Adrenalin creates this law 
And gives me hope for life again " 

—Throbbing Gristle, (Paper Thin) Adrenalin 

The body's daily requirement of adrenalin 
obviously being variable, the artificial dose is 
through necessity set at a constant high, meaning 
that not all of the drug available will be used - the 
body simply absorbing and breaking down the excess 
drug. Any chemist will tell you, however, that 
adrenalin can break down to something resembling 
LSD-6. Harmless enough, but meaning that P-Orridge 
has been on a steady, if infinitesimal trip for the last 
thirty odd years. 

"Normal people experience somewhat the same 
thing as mescalin users when they have whipped up 
their adrenal glands with intense anger or fear... For 
when adrenalin decomposes, it produces 
adrenochrome - and an intoxication with some of 
the symptoms of mescalin. These may include brief 
lapses of reality- awareness, intensified appreciation 
of common-place objects, either actual or imagined, 
and exaggerated emotions of fear and hate." 

—Dr. Claude William Chamberlain, ‘Magic Land Of 
Mescalin', Fate magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1956. 

This fact was borne out most startlingly when Gen 
experimented with hallucinogenic drugs in the '60s 
- once dangerously taking twelve times the normal 
dose of LSD and being thoroughly disappointed with 
the resulting state of near-normality. "The colours on 



Paula P-Orridge 


the carpet got a bit brighter, ” as his friends crawled 
around on the ceiling being generally wacky. 

For all this, he was a fairly ordinary kid, although 
he has in the past gleefully admitted to the fact that 
he was more sexually active, and mischievousat an 
earlier age than most, enjoying such things as once 
running through town in thick fog with his willy 
hanging out (he is in fact an exhibitionist to this 
day!). Another clue to what was to follow came 
when he was nine, when he says he went through a 
phase of liking nothing better than going into the 
corner of a field alone and using twigs, knotted 
grass, sticks and stones to build...altars. 

“I'd spend hours laboriously marking out areas and 
making clearings and painstakingly build them. And 
I remember taking great pleasure in the thought 
that with the first gust of wind, or rainstorm, it 
would all be blown away." 

Even then, the nine-year-old minimalist took more 
pleasure from the process of creating than the 
creation itself. 

Recording songs and poetry by the age of twelve 
he continued through school as a fairly normal pupil. 
His small physical stature made him a target for 
bullies, and it was no doubt from here that one of 
his present-day interests - a belief in the concept and 
practice of self-defence - evolved. He once 
"defended" himself in the classroom with a 
penknife, and was surprised to find blood trickling 
out of his assailant. The experience was committed 
to vinyl decades later in TG's song Blood On The 
Floor. 

At the age of seventeen he seems to have become, 
as is normal, disenchanted with what life had to 
offer, particularly as he was disliked and picked-on 
by certain members of the school staff. He then hit 





12 • RAPID EYE 1 


upon an idea that, again, has been used on a 
number of occasions in his later life. He turned the 
tables by confusing peoples' expectations of him. 
Already an agnostic, if not fully fledged anti- 
Christian, he became secretary of the Sixth Form 
Christian Discussion Circle. 

“From then on I was protected from everything, 
even when I was being very naughty, because I was 
secretary of the Christian Discussion Circle, so I MUST 
be a nice boy. And that was when I learned that 
reversing your normal response often has a potent 
effect. Often bashing on a brick wall is a lot less 
constructive than walking around the side and 
shaking someone's hand while still carrying the 
bomb secretly in your back pocket." 

By the age of 18 he was taking Sunday School 
classes. “I did that because I was interested in the 
structure by then, and seeing how people were 
trained. While doing it I just trained the children 
there to be thoughtful, and not be the kind of 
people who'd consciously do others harm. I just used 
a flimsy web of Christianity as camouflage for that. 
I was brought up a Christian. " (surprisingly C of E, 
not Catholic). “I'd had to go to communion every 
week and drink the blood. The only good thing 
about it was to see these very respectable people 
kneeling and guzzling blood and eating human 
flesh. I remember being very disappointed when I 
was young when I found out it wasn't real blood. I 
really felt cheated. Maybe that’s why I've been 
disappointed in the Christian Church ever since." 
Well, that's Christianity in a nutshell. No flesh. No 
blood. 

Passing his exams, he entered Hull University, 
having chosen a telling curriculum of Philosophy, 
Sociology and Social Administration - the very 
structure of society. He'd ignored advice that he go 
to Art College thinking it "too obvious" a move, and 
unlikely to be able to teach him any practical skills 
that he could not learn himself somewhere else if 
and when they were ever needed (nobody, for 
example, ever gave him classes in how to use a 
recording studio). 

A difficult student on what he thought a lousy 
course, he dropped out and lived in a succession of 
hippy communes based in squats all over England. It 
was from here that he started becoming involved in 
Performance Art, and his writing and poetry 
flourished. He contributed to a string of magazines, 
including the notorious OZ, and other titles like I.T., 
MOLE, and his own, WORM. No less than the Times 
Literary Supplement had him pegged as "the most 
promising young poet in Britain". Faber are thought 
to have eyed him with interest, and the likes of 
Richard Murphy and the man who denounced the 
junket of Poet Laureate, Philip Larkin, tried to 
persuade him into becoming a serious poet (just like 
they were). 

Unusual ideas were already marinating in Gen's 
mind, though, so instead the luverly lad joined a 
greasy gang of Hells Angels - performing oral sex 
with six of them as part of his initiation - and then 


went on to develop an interest in areas of 
communication which avoided the written word. 
Performance, music, and visual art. Eventually 
becoming deeply involved in groups such as (don't 
laugh) The Exploding Galaxy, Trans Media 
Exploration, and (with girlfriend, artist and porno 
model Cosi Fanni Tutti, now of the Creative 
Technology Institute) COUM - the logo of which was 
a semi-erect penis, dribbling with semen, beneath it 
printed the words We Guarantee Disappointment'. 

About this time Gen found an ally in the crumpled 
suit of William Burroughs. It all started when Genesis 
wrote a fan letter, to which the novelist replied. Gen 
then sent him a shoebox containing a plastercast 
hand with the thumb missing, and in the box he 
secreted a typically enigmatic note saying 'dead 
fingers thumb', adding only his name and phone 
number. 

When, a few days later, Gen arrived home, a 
friend - and fellow Burroughs junkie - told him that 
he'd received a phone call in his absence. 

"Who was it?" 

"Some wanker pretending to be William 
Burroughs." 

"It probably was William Burroughs. What did you 
say to him?" 

"Oh shit. I told him to fuck off. I just told William 
Burroughs to fuck off and stop pissing about." 

Fortunately, Burroughs persevered, inviting 
P-Orridge to his Duke Street flat. The two have since 
remained friends, resulting in "Uncle Bill'"s 
appearances at The Final Academy series of events 
organised by The Temple at Brixton's Ritzy Cinema. 
The three-day event, put together by P-Orridge, 
included performances by 23 Skidoo, Cabaret 
Voltaire, and readings by the poet John Giorno (once 
the lover of Ginsberg, and also of Warhol's Sleep 
film fame), Brion Gysin, Kathy Acker and the debut 
of PTV. P-Orridge is also the proud owner of 
probably the most complete collection of Burroughs 
books, videos and memorabilia in the country. It was 
he who the BBC wheeled out to talk on Radio One 
about Burroughs on the release of the Factory/IKON 
Burroughs videos, and he was also the person who 
supplied BBC 2 controller Alan Yentob with much of 
his material for the 'Arena' documentary on 
Burroughs' life in 1984. 

Besides Burroughs, the primary influences on his 
life and work are not hidden. In fact they are made 
obvious by the pictures that hang on his walls. A 
Gysin painting; a large framed photograph of 
Crowley in full masonic uniform (looking ironically 
like Mussolini, the man who kicked A.C. out of Italy); 
an original Austin Spare; the only surviving portrait 
of Harry Crosby given to him by the sado-masochist 
writer Terence Sellers. 

Crosby was a Boston socialite, a born millionaire 
who devoted himself to living life to the full. He 
inherited a library of several thousand books, but 
(saying nobody needed more than 200 books in their 
collection), he set about giving the rest away - 
discreetly depositing priceless first editions on the 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 13 


shelves of secondhand bookshops! He married 
'pretty' Polly Peabody (said by some to have been 
the co-inventor of the bra), having stolen her away 
from her alcoholic husband and carrying her off to 
Europe in a white Rolls Royce which he later burnt 
on the beach at Monaco. Saying that he couldn't 
spend the rest of his life with anyone calling 
themselves 'Polly' he dubbed the love of his life 
'Caresse'. 

He spent most of his remarkable life partying, 
writing, and offloading his vast inheritance by 
patronising the arts. In order to give himself the 
sense of panic necessary to ensure that he lived life 
to the full, he promised his friends that he'd be dead 
by the age of 30. He proved true to his word. On his 
30th birthday, Harry Crosby killed himself. 

In investigating P-Orridge, one could do worse 
than look at his heroes. Crosby embodied both 
decadence and despair, the essential gemini stars in 
the firmament of Cult Art, and tempered this with a 
conviction shared only by the likes of a Mishima. Gen 
admires conviction. 

By the mid '70s he was involved in Mailart, (a 
peripheral member of the Fluxus movement that 
included La Monte Young and Joseph Beuys, and a 
correspondent with the likes of Anna Banana and 
Monte Cazazza in San Francisco), and, again, his 
contacts made during this time, such as Al Ackerman, 
and the influence of the philosophies of people such 
as Fluxus' founder George Maciunas, show some 
bearing on the later work of The Temple, who, 
viewed in this light close-up, appear not so much as 
a Satanic Church, as a Mail Art movement focused on 
religious imagery and various forms of ritual. 

Some of P-Orridge's mailart in the '70s was 
considered obscene. He was prosecuted for one of 
his postcards, (which depicted the Buckingham 
Palace garden with a large female bottom poking 
out of some bushes), taking legal advice from Lord 
Goodman, and being represented in court by the 
same Q.C. who'd previously successfully defended 
Linda Lovelace and the OZ editors, but who failed 
miserably in the case of the GPO v GP-O. So, in a 
world where it is an offence to offend he was 
landed with a £400 fine and unofficially sentenced to 
a life of having his mail tampered with. 

His charming public image was further polished in 
1976, when he and the other members of COUM 
staged the infamous Prostitution exhibition at the 
ICA. 

The show included, among an unreported bulk of 
painting and sculpture, a selection of tampon 
exhibits. Tory loonies like Nicholas Fairburn MP, who 
had been invited to the show, reacted by going 
predictably bonkers. The owner of the ICA building 
in the Mall was not amused. It made it look as 
though she was living off "immoral earnings" by 
allowing the event to be put on, and her house, 
after all, was only down the street (for it was she - 
the lady with the bottom). 

The gutter press pounced. Screaming from their 
usual platform of mock indignation, they slammed 


+ 

Pernicious, suspect 



Dety poisonous, 6ea6Iy 




14 • RAPID EYE 1 


P-Orridge (with his Arts Council grant) for being 
disgusting and immoral in columns wedged between 
lurid reports about horny clergymen and the inky 
paper flesh of Page Three breasts. He complained 
about their lies and misreporting of the affair to the 
Press Council, but it was too late. In the eyes of Fleet 
Street over a decade later, Genesis P-Orridge is still 
thought of as The Tampon Man' - a thoroughly 
nasty piece of work. After all, wasn't it he, in 1971 (5 
years before the Pistols) who had committed the 
ultimate crime; hadn't he gobbed on John Peel? He 
had. 

Although he now views his involvement with the 
Art establishment with contempt, saying that its 
petit bourgeois mentality and misunderstanding of 
what he was doing was detestable, and his and 
others work at the time largely "rubbish", the image 
was set, and stuck; he found himself framed in a 
picture of his own making. Besides being an 'artistic 
statement' as valid as anything else in the Institute 
of Contemporary Arts at the time, the Prostitution 
exhibition revealed much about the supposedly 
liberal art world and also the news media, and, 
important to our story, Genesis P-Orridge had 
created the only statement demanded by the arts 
community in a media dictated society - a persona. 
"An achievement in some ways, and also an albatross 
around my neck in others." 

Presently, Gen appears to have attempted to 
divorce himself from the Art World by adopting a 
simple, yet effective ploy. He has substituted the 
word 'Art' with the word 'Magick'. He once wrote: 
"I do not believe that ANY art has intrinsic value. It 
is a result, it is not the thing itself. It is expression 
and description; not experience, it is residue. It is 
means. Magick is the only medium that can be 



both." 

In consciously distancing himself from the Art 
world, he successfully removed himself from the 
influence of the superficial consumerist ethics which 
the art establishment expounds. As an 'artist', 
P-Orridge felt suspicious, embarrassed and 
uncomfortable. Now, as a Magick Man, he feels at 
ease. Even if this new definition has resulted in 
problems that would not be shared by someone 
clinging to the title of "Artist", as that term still 
affords some understanding and tolerance in the 
community not given to these strange "occult" types. 

As the Catalan video decays into static, little Caresse 
rolls languidly off the couch and gambols across the 
field of powder grey carpet to play with the two 
large Mickey Mouse helium balloons that float 
inanely a few feet above the floor - a present from 
Daddy. The antique lace curtains billow and the 
room is livened by a breath of morning Hackney 
breeze, finding P-Orridge discussing lack of energy in 
the morning. The tape switches to real time. 

“You know why it is don't you? It's obviously 
biological." 

Err, bio-rhythms? 

“No. You assume that people transmit frequencies, 
pulses. You know the evidence. ” 

Zuccarelli's holophonics, the Black Box, Dream 
Machine, Tibetan trumpets which resonate at 
frequencies that affect our frequencies and produce 
aurally-induced orgasms. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's 
theory of Morphic Resonance - everything from 
radionics to Madame Blavatsky's auras would seem 
to point in that general direction. But how would 
that effect us in the morning? 

Gen is reminded again of the past, revealing more 
of his exploits with the enigmatic Trans Media 
Exploration and in the process, more of the drives 
that motivate him and the Temple today. 

"/ was with them in 1969, they had grown out of 
the Exploding Galaxy. The people there used to talk 
about this guy who'd been with them who used to 
make strange plastic capes with all objects and 
things in - Derek Jarman. Then in 19781 met up with 
him in person. Anyway, Trans Media was a very strict 
commune. You couldn't sleep in the same place two 
nights running. You had no money or clothes of 
your own. The clothes were all kept together in a 
box so you just chose something for the day from it. 
Meals were always at different times. Everything was 
affected, even food. No standard recipes were 
accepted, so you had to improvise. We'd also do 
things like wake each other up at odd times of the 
night. It was very tough." 

Thus the seeds had been sown. He learnt not to 
ASSUME anything as being OBVIOUS. To learn what 
form of behaviour was habit, and to what extent the 
breaking of those ingrained habits and expectations 
affected reality. Reality being the way one 
experiences life. To become self-reliant, through 
varying rigorous forms of self-discipline, so as to be 
more able to investigate life subjectively and come 



GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 15 


up with one's own conclusions and solutions to it. To 
be as non-lazy as possible. Such a lifestyle explains 
why his opinions are often so unusual, and inevitably 
unpopular. On a practical level, it's also an 
explanation for why he's amassed such an enormous 
body of work. 

One Trans Media experiment was an attempt to 
crack, or at least tamper with, the limitations of 
Language - itself a key to 'Control' and a long 
obsession with the literati, from Orwell and James 
Joyce, to Burroughs and Anthony Burgess. The 
interest in language has expressed itself in a number 
of ways; indeed, one need only read Gen's 
contributions elsewhere in Rapid Eye to see that he 
still uses a personalised, highly idiosyncratic form of 
writing. An early experiment involved his attempts to 
build a typewriter that produced a form of non¬ 
linear writing. 

"It could be used to form codes and hieroglyphs as 
well as shapes and forms of lettering, a type of 
writing that was more visual and less static. We were 
interested in breaking people's ways of looking at 
things. Writing in that way meant that people 
weren’t looking at straight words or letters, and so 
they had to be looking at what the words were 
made from." 

Editing this symbolised Newspeak not only made 
it more efficient than linear writing, but also more 
idiosyncratic. 

"People either had to build it back up into letters 
they could see again in their head, or had to learn to 
decode it like shorthand" 

Even when 'cracked' and read almost 
automatically, it could still be used to write private 
messages to other group members, or changed at 
will, depending on meaning and mood. But this 
invites criticism. Of, in this case, the language, and 
more widely any 'alternative' structure. As applicable 
to The Temple as it is to Trans Media. In doing all 
this, isn't one just replacing one structure, one 
language, one mad form of belief, with another? 
And if so, what's the point? 

The point is, of course, not necessarily the results 
of the activity, but the taking part, the research. In 
the case of the language, learning the nature of 
language-Control (even with the widest of 
vocabularies), and the limitations inherent in any 
form of communication, and creating an 
individualised alternative that may communicate 
ideas and feelings that have up to that point 
remained muted by conventional expression. If 
nothing else, the understanding of such esoteric 
language defeats laziness, negates the conditioned 
passive role of acceptance and expectation, and 
promotes more inter-action between writer and 
reader. 

Another advantage of creating such a flexible, 
visual form of written communication lies in its 
magickal applications. The meaning of such 
symbolism can more easily be forgotten by the 
conscious mind - a positive disadvantage in normal 
use, but not so when you are later using the 


symbolism you have created in sigilisation for 
example - which we will go into later. 

Trans Media's disorientation of logic and 
expectation, its mischievous Boy Scout pseudo-sect 
mentality and its interest in observing process rather 
than creating product seems to have been something 
of a blueprint for what was to follow. 

But where does Frequency fit into this jigsaw? 

"One of the linguistic things we had in Trans 
Media as a discipline was that there are two types of 
people. It was only a simplification to express an 
idea, it doesn't really mean that we thought there 
were two kinds of people, but for ease of description 
there are these genealogical terms, and one of them 
is 'quaquaversal', which apparently means 'pointing 
in every direction simultaneously'. And there is 
another word, 'centroclinaT, which has the definition 
of being 'the opposite of quaquaversal'." 

Genesis smiles and looks rather pleased with 
himself. The language creaks and finds it hard to 
cope. Trans Media loved playing with such ideas, it 
seems. 

“We, and in fact most people observed that as you 
said, it was easier to work very late at night as 
opposed to in the morning. And our glib but 
semi-serious explanation for it was that the 



Gen’s elder daughter Caresse, and dog, Tanith; 

both recording artists with PTV. 
(photo: Zbigniew Szydko) 




16 • RAPID EYE 1 


centrodines - the people who don’t want to wake 
up, don't want to look around and do anything, that 
squidgy, lard-like mass who individually are fine, but 
corporately generated an incredible amount of 
centroclinal energy. We didn't say negative energy, 
because the word 'negative' implies a moral 
judgement, whereas 'centroclinal' implies... wasted, 
a big black hole. So, when the centrodines went to 
sleep in their little suburbs and so on their brains 
slowed down a lot and their centroclinal emissions 
dwindled.“ 

Creating more space? 

“Yes, allowing the quaquaversal energies to pop 
out and fill the void ." 

But the centrodines on the other side of the world 
would still be awake anyway. 

"Well I think we decided that the effect of the 
energy was more obvious the closer you were to the 
source; it was more powerful locally than globally. If 
you're next to someone who's trying to punch you in 
the mouth it hurts more than if somebody's trying to 
punch you when they're in Japan, I guess." Gen, as 
you will have noticed, loves parables. 

Flashing back to Present Time the Sony booms out 
as Caresse dances with Mickey across the little 
ballroom in her head. PTV's breakneck version of The 
Beach Boys Good Vibrations (a frequency pun?) 
sweeps the conversation off its feet. The single was 
released in 1986 and, aided by a wonderful pastiche 
video shot during the group's US tour in California, 
reached the lower regions of the national charts. 
Although officially a Psychic TV release at the height 
of P-Orridge's interest in "Hyperdelia", the record 
was originally intended to be put out on 'The 
Process' label by The Process. The Process is not a 
group. Confused? 

The Process is another piece in the mosaic of minor 
and often unpublicised projects that make up 
P-Orridge's career. The Process, with its obvious 
implied references to Brion Gysin and also to Dr 
Robert De Grimston's cult of the same name, is the 
way in which a thing is done. Its method rather than 
its identity (the band), or the results of that band's 
activity (the 'record'). The Process also produced a 
killing version of Gen's favourite Stones song As 
Tears Go By. The process adopted for the realisation 
of the project that has produced these two wax 
almadels was to gather together several interested 
musicians - such as Rose from Strawberry 
Switchblade - and use several instruments as they 
were used on the original '60s recordings, 
reproducing the originals in more palatable wall of 
sound disco by using state-of-the-art 1980s recording 
technology. 

The general reaction to the single was that it was 
pretty, but, coming as it did from P-Orridge, rather 
pointless. Indeed, Genesis is so revered among the 
ageing, pseudo-intellectual pop fraternity that they 
had forgotten he was capable of releasing records 
purely for the fun of it, and as subject to influences 
as the next man. Visiting his house at the time of 
The Process project, one would note the cogent fact 


that a well-thumbed copy of Warhol's Popism lay on 
the P-Orridge coffee table. 

There were, of course, other reasons for the Good 
Vibrations release. He does have a wife, family, and 
mortgage to support. Despite advice, he has never 
watered down his weldgeist to a more weedy, 
acceptable consistency and gone hell for leather for 
the money - but The Process single was an 
undeniable step towards solvency, even though most 
of the money it made was ploughed back into the 
Temple's more esoteric projects. 

Obviously, the fund-raising activities of PTV are 
also more accessible than was the mottled sheet of 
experimental sound that was TG, but even now they 
are hardly an easy pill to swallow, and anyway, the 
metamorphosis from abstract electronic din (an 
experiment in muzak and its effects on frequency) to 
the dark pop of PTV (an experiment in pop ritual 
and its effects on frequency), was an aesthetic 
desirability rather than a tactical manoeuvre. 

P-Orridge though, on the bottom line, makes no 
bones about the fact that the money from such 
projects as the Process is needed. Alex Fergusson 
(late of Mark Perry's ATV and Fred and Judy 
Vermorel's naughty Cash Pussies) has got to be one 
of the great bedsit-bound pop composers of the 
moment. Due to his association with P-Orridge 
though, he has had to earn his living as an usher in 
a West End cinema. For his part, Gen - recipient of 
the odd royalty cheque and director of several 
Temple companies, is better off, though far from rich 
- despite rumours to the contrary based on false 
assumptions based on PTV's previous record deals. 

Even though Psychic TV signed a whopping 
million-pound rolling option contract with CBS, all 
the £30,000 they actually received from it was spent 
on the recording of the Dreams Less Sweet album - 
along with £3,000 of the Temple's own money on 
top of that, borrowed from Some Bizzare's Stevo and 
raised by such events as the Marc (Almond) and the 
Mambas Temple benefit performance in London. 

A large chunk of the vast recording costs went 
towards the use of Hugo Zuccarelli's Holophonic 
recording system. Zuccarelli is a thirtysomething 
Argentine physicist. He worked at the Cathedral of 
Brain Psychology in Buenos Aires, conducting 
research into sleep and dreams, specifically 
concerning himself with external induction of visual 
stimulation and memory. He later studied in Milan, 
where he worked on electronic and magnetic fields. 
It was here that he formulated the idea of 
Holophonics, the audio equivalent of Holography. 
Approaching the subject of recording from a 
neurophysiological, rather than from an 
acoustic/electronic angle, Zuccarelli works on the 
principle that listening to sound is an active, rather 
than a passive experience. From Edison onwards, we 
have listened to recordings of the mechanical 
vibration created by a sound source. This does not 
take into account the effect such sound has on the 
frequencies which emanate from the listener. 
Recording vibration from the source is only half the 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 17 



sound picture; the other half is provided by the 
listener, giving sound a spatial quality. 

For example, if you were listening to a recording 
of a voice that has been made with the person 
speaking standing 25 feet away from the 
microphone, you would hear a very faint voice - you 
would hear a bad recording. If, on the other hand, 
you were to hear someone talking to you from the 
same distance in a room, you would know that the 
person was about 25 feet away, how loud he was 
talking, and where he was standing in relation to 
you. You would be hearing reality. Holophonics, in 
giving sound a three-dimensional quality, is the 
recording of that reality. The sound is recorded 
without microphones in the ordinary sense of the 
word, through a dummy body, complete with skull, 
ears, hair, internal juices and cavities. What we hear 
through the dummy (called 'Ringo'), is the 
interference between the sound source and the 
reference tone given off by our - or in this case, 
Ringo's - ears. The brain is then able to interpret the 
result and give it a spatial quality. 

Rubbish? Hype? Here is what Fleet Street had to 
say at the time: 


"In the past few weeks several music and Fleet Street 
papers have written stories about Psychic TV's album. 
The group ostentatiously proclaim that it's the first 
"holophonic" record ever to be released and that it 
allows listeners to hear "3-D” music. Bunkum! After 
hearing the album I reckon the only strange thing 
about it, besides the bizarre music, is someone 
shaking a matchbox around at the end of the final 
track... Radio One DJ Richard Skinner, who 
interviewed Psychic TV last week, describes them as 
'inventive comedians', adding 'All they're doing is 
using a very old stereo sound technique'." 

—Peter Holm, The Standard, 24.11.82 

“Stand by for holophonic sound, which is set to 
become one of the major technological 
breakthroughs of the '80s. After my rather sceptical 
piece on Psychic TV last week I was contacted by the 
inventor and given a special demonstration - and I 
can vouch that the effect is staggering... it was as if 
the noise was passing in front of my face and then 
going around the back of my head... a perfect 3-D 
effect, in fact and most extraordinary was that it 
was no different through only one headphone. 




18 • RAPID EYE 1 


meaning that it had nothing to do with conventional 
stereo... holophonics can also encourage visual 
stimulation ." 

—Peter Holm, The Standard, 1.12.82 

Auto-suggestion perhaps? Well several people 
don't think so. Rick Wakeman, Stevie Wonder, Kate 
Bush, Vangelis, John Williams and Pink Floyd queued 
up to use the system first and Paul McCartney 
wanted to buy the patent. Zuccarelli though, turning 
down vast sums, wanted his invention used by 
someone who would be able to understand it, 
appreciate its uses and use it with imagination, and 
with some courage of conviction, held out and chose 
PTV to be the first group to be allowed to fully 
record with it. Gen grasped the opportunity, 
dragging the hapless silver-haired Ringo down into 
the caves used by Sir Francis Dashwood's Hellfire 
Club, into wet-walled sewers, crept up behind him, 
chased him with dogs, poured petrol around him 
and set light to it, and put him in a coffin and 
buried him. (When playing it lock the door, put the 
headphones on and turn the lights out. Even 
allowing for the usual disorientation caused, if you 
don't feel some sensations not normally associated 
with listening to pop records, then you're made of 
wood.) 

The result was a beautiful, mysterious and mean 
record. Full of breathless oboes and mad pumping 
church organs wrapped around the songs and poems 
of the Temple, penned by Thomas Tallis, Jim Jones, 
Charles Manson, Monte, Jordi, Krafft-Ebbing, Alex 
and Genesis. A sort of Psychopathia Sexualis done in 
rubber, it became the hymnal of the Temple, but the 
record company couldn't give a shit. 

PTV, who had, prior to the Dreams album already 
been dumped after the ‘Force The Hand Of Chance' 
LP for abusing WEA Records, were dropped by CBS. 
Perhaps they didn't like the sight of Gen dragging a 
handcuffed Marc Almond around their Soho Square 
offices, particularly when David Jensen was visiting. 

Gen was back with the independents. Illuminated, 
Fresh, Fetish, Red, De-Coder, and Sordid 
Sentimentale are just a few of the labels on which 
he has (literally) scratched his thoughts, giving away 
the copyright and master tapes of recordings like 
TG's legendary D.o.A. to fans so as to encourage 
them to start their own record companies and in the 
process defeat the gangland bootleggers who had 
been getting bloated on TG's deleted endeavours by 
feeding record junkie youth and charging through 
the inflamed nose for the service. All very altruistic, 
but such an attitude to the record business, and 
money in general, has often left him broke. 

Being well-known does have its advantages 
though. One visitor to the Temple is Anton LaVey, 
leader of The Church of Satan (a registered church in 
the USA). LaVey, liking the idea of TOPY, seems 
interested in giving the Temple's fledgling publishing 
outlet the UK rights to his unpublished books, such 
as the rather naff Satanic Bible. 

Another connection made by Genesis may make it 


possible for Temple Records to release the early 
'sonic experiments' of the Velvet Underground, yet 
another gives the organisation the rights to publish 
a compendium of Terence Sellers' work. 

This writer once bumped into P-Orridge in a 
London cafe and was introduced to Peter Getty, who 
had Concorded over from New York to interview 
P-Orridge for his Evergreen Review. Peter, who on 
his 25th birthday will inherit a fair chunk of the 
family fortune, jetted his poverty-stricken 
interviewee over to Paris for a few days, Gen 
returning the favour by introducing Getty to the 
man who'd done some of the paintings that hang 
over both of their fireplaces back home - Brion 
Gysin. 

A confirmed Samuel Beckettian (if such a breed 
exists), Peter is at present writing a play. Without the 
profit motive being paramount, such a thing is likely 
to be slated by the critics for lack of 'hunger', or 
some such contrived drivel regardless of merit, simply 
because society cannot really believe in anything 
produced purely for creative reasons - thinking it 
self-indulgent even though, ironically, its motivations 
must be the most pure and uncompromising. 

The Process single, however, was criticised by 
reversing this logic. It having had no pretensions to 
being anything other than an enjoyable, affectionate 
homage to pop pap, regardless of how it was 
produced. Sixties styles, with their innocent Yasgur's 
Farm idealism now made tougher by the perspective 
given by time, is a current interest of Gen's, musically 
and spiritually. Just as the exotic strains of Martin 
Denny in an incongruous marriage arranged by 
P-Orridge to the techno-pop of Dusseldorf had been 
the primal source of the later work of TG, Psychic TV 
are now passing through a phase as eccentric Acid 
House popists, as opposed to post-punk shockists. A 
mood reflected in P-Orridge's current mode of dress. 

The old militaristic image of the Temple - austerely 
black and grey, threateningly shaved and brutalised, 
was introduced (quite deliberately) as a fashion. The 
Temple, purporting to be a loose association 
interested in 'Individuality', took on a uniformity to 
test the individual and public response to it. To play 
a mischievous game with fashion in order to negate 
it. Just as the Temple plays with the behavioral 
patterns encouraged by organised religion. 

Nowadays, gone are the black shirts and camo- 
jackets, the vaguely fascistic-looking badges and 
squeaky DMs that created a false impression to many 
passers-by in the British Movement infested 
backstreets of the East End. (The idea was really one 
of appreciating Design and Image and wresting-back 
the powerful look usurped by the Nazis. Though 
most people obviously got the wrong idea, trendy 
lefties accusing P-Orridge of being a Fascist while at 
the same time he endured several attacks on the 
street from right wing skinheads who called him a 
"Jew".) 

Now, bored with the monotonous grime of 
London, the traffic jams and rain, the bearded 
Socialists, white high-heeled tarts and acres of grey 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 19 


council housing, all is sweetness and light. It was not 
always so. TG once commissioned a clothes designer, 
their friend Lawrence Dupre, to design for them 
their own camouflage (there are hundreds of 
different types of camouflage available from around 
the world, and P-Orridge has quite a collection, but 
the group wanted a unique one). He came up with 
a rectangular-looking design in the colours of black, 
white, and various shades of grey. TG had the suits 
made up, and would often perform in their "urban 
camo" uniforms. Now, as a reaction to the prevailing 
sense of greyness, P-Orridge is often resplendent in 
silk sari, purple slacks and long ponytail plaited with 
multi-coloured strands of wool. 

The term Genesis has coined for the style is 
typically loaded - "Hyperdelic", psychedelia forged 
with modernism. The Temple now talks of "Angry 
Love", a unification of the peaceful idealism of the 
hippies and the militant, perhaps violent protests of 
the Situationists circa 1968. A love which is selective, 
an anger which is justified, and born out of sheer 
frustration. 

To Gen, Angry Love is the clarion call of a new, 
realistic radicalism. "Radicalism is what you do, not 
how you look. Celebrate and activate! Don't destroy, 
deploy and decoy... Radicalism is given power by 
building, not by destroying. Each day that passes this 
society commits mass murder. It murders 
imagination, potential, possibilities in people of all 
ages and sexes, but most obviously in young people. 
They are encouraged to kill time with Smack, to kill 
optimism with sarcasm, and to hypnotise themselves 
with death by the daily wearing of Black." 

Angry Love is Timothy Leary's vision smashing into 
the immovable object of Thatcher's bitter British 
reality. As P-Orridge writes in a Temple Newsletter - 
"TURN ON (control), TUNE IN (to your Self), DROP 
OUT (of Control)... We do LOVE, but in a 1980s way. 
We LOVE the fight, we LOVE hope... We feel ANGER, 
for all the obvious reasons." 

Angry Love means Stop Hurting Each Other. Not 
because it's the "nice" thing to do, but because it's 
a waste of time. It's a diversion from the true fight. 
Each individual's fight. The fight against 
complacency, puritanism, uniformity, prejudice, guilt, 
fear, conditioning. The fight against the social 
manifestations of CONTROL. 

This newer, practical radicalism expresses itself in 
such things as the Temple-organised demonstration 
outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar 
Square on the 14th September 1987, timed to 
co-incide with the start of the trial of Moses 
Moyekaso in Johannesburg, and in the series of 
Temple demos held outside Brighton Marina calling 
for the release of the dolphins forced to perform in 
its shabby pool (hardly activities usually associated 
with "Satanic"/"Nazi"/"Arty"/"Pornographers", one 
thinks). 

Angry Love has been celebrated at a number of 
PTV events, such as the 'Riot in the Eye' day at the 
Electric Ballroom. PTV played with The Angry Love 
Orchestra and six other bands at the nine hour 


"indoor festival". Stalls sold "Hyperdelic 
Wholefood", there was a "Tele-Visionary Lounge" 
and disco, but did anyone remember to take their 
Mates condoms for the "Free Love Tent"? 

Events such as Riot in the Eye encouraged people 
to make a personal effort rather than simply attend 
a gig. To ignore current fashion and the ridiculous 
'80s media obsession with 'Style' as dictated by the 
smug, monotonous voices of Peter York and Lloyd 
Grossman - and to have fun. 

A Riot in the Eye is caused by SEEING and 
OBSERVING just what is really going on in this 
society. The concept of Angry Love directs the anger 
this generates not towards a riot in the street, but to 
a constructive end. A rejection. An increase in 
perception. The tape loops back... "Radicalism is 
given power by building, not by destroying..." 

Whatever the terminology employed, the Temple 
now seems to reverberate to the sounds of nouveau 
hippiedom. It just depends on your view of a hippie 
as to whether you think the association good or bad. 
If you are locked into fashion, it's irrelevant and 
obnoxious. But if you regard a hippie as someone 
who is likely to be actively seeking better 
alternatives, and creating for himself a life free from 
the trappings of compromise and the pressures of 
materialism and fashion, you probably think it's OK. 
Personally, I find the Temple's current attitude 
towards clothes a mite overstated. At a PTV Thames 
Riverboat party, for instance, invitations insist that 
you wear Psychedelic clothes or forego admission - 
much like the early '80s 'exclusive', 'alternative' clubs 
in the West End, who operated a dress code that 
ensured everyone was an 'individual', provided they 
looked like Marilyn, Boy George, or one of Robert 
Elms' ex-girlfriends. Indeed the attack on all things 
grey and black continues with each Temple 
Newsletter. Despite the fact that wearing blank, 
classic clothes, provided it is regardless of the 
fashion, does actually negate fashion, and reduces 
the amount of brain power wasted on the trivia of 
buying and choosing clothes. Quite how Individual 
(sic) one is being by going along with some of 
P-Orridge's style games is probably something of no 
importance to the dancing masses one can see at any 
PTV gig, but in this kingdom of the double bluff and 
the clever-clever, who knows or really cares? 
Whatever your view, the Old Grey Wolf has come 
out in his true colours and, in so doing, accidentally 
predicted the Acid House explosion of late '88. 

* Coincidentally , / was using the term 'Acid Dance' 
before the term 'Acid House' appeared from 
Chicago." 

Thinking about what P-Orridge was doing with 
emulators, voice tapes, his weird sound archive and 
the electronic, 'industrial' rhythmic discipline of T.G. 
in the late '70s, and joining those elements with his , 
wild eyed pronouncements on Manson, Leary, The 
Process and psychedelia with the Temple 
organisation in the early '80s, it is hard not to see 
the link. 

This linkage resulted in him collaborating with 




20 • RAPID EYE 1 



Gen, having jacked the tab 


Richard Norris, behind the anonymous guise of 
'Noise Or Not', an in-house acid production team 
which brought out the Acid Tablets, a string of 
phoney 'compilation' albums of original "UK acid 
dance freakbeats", and also the excellent 
Superman/Jack The Tab 12 inch single - called "the 
finest Acid House record to hit the dancefloor in 
1988" by the Melody Maker. 

The roots and definitions of Acid House are open 
to question, but, as Gen says, "One of the things 
that's universal in all interpretations of Acid House is 
a revival of the original idea of psychedelia, which is 
to take whatever technology is current - back then 
it would have been the wah-wah, the mellotron - 
and try to find the weirdest, most irrational thing it 
can do. That’s what Throbbing Gristle were into. We 
bought a computer and converted it to do sampling 
way back in '76, long before sampling technology 
was invented. Six tape decks in sequence, throwing 
out sounds at random, creating rhythms and 
conjunctions." 

The Big Sound bounces around the cultural 
capitals and attitudes of the world like light on 
mirrors and lenses. Briefly, all the colours bleeding 
into the white strobe light of Acid House, a very '80s 
fashion focus which juxtaposes sounds and images 
and sub-culture plots and, in so doing, embodies a 


moment, a moment in and out of time, that is the 
common feeling of disorientation and overload 
which comes from living in the media jungle of the 
early '90s. 

"There is no message, but the music itself is a 
statement about media explosion and the 
acceleration of experiences that the human copes 
with under the effect of the mass media. 

"At last all the different dreams and all the 
different threads that have gone in strange 
meandering patterns for about IS years have all 
converged, WHOOOMPH! And what’s so great is that 
it's all so open- ended, there are no rules." 

The lyric-less acid beat provides P-Orridge with an 
ideal platform. No format, no rules. By early '89 he 
and other British Acid Housers were producing 
harder, weirder sounds than those emanating from 
the States and transmitting them back to the purist 
DJ's in Chicago. Three thousand American disc 
jockeys can't be wrong. 

“It’s gonna be like what happened in the Sixties. 
We took U.S. R&B and tried to imitate it, and in the 
process peculiarised it, got it a bit wrong, made it 
British and re-exported it to the U.S. on a massive 
scale." 

Hence the Temple Records Acid House label, a 
Union Jack logo with an upside-down Peace Sign at 
its centre. 

"The Mods used the Union Jack, which relates to 
the freakbeat, psychedelic Mod thing. The punks 
used the torn-up Union Jack. Now we're using it, 
only upside down, 'cos everything is reversed. Funny 
thing is, if you put the C.N.D. sign upside down, you 
get the rune of 'Protection’. So they got it wrong in 
the Sixties and for the last 20 years everybody has 
been parading around under the wrong symbol! 

"I love Acid House as the music allows sarcasm and 
disrespect and experiment to become a credible way 
of life again. We were all doing that anyway, 
because ifs in our nature. But for once, 
circumstances have conjoined with us. All the best 
ideas are inevitable, nobody owns them. All popular 
culture has become a fair target for re-working, 
stealing whatever bits you need. Music, TV, political 
speeches, cartoons, movies." 

The post modernist ethos of creative plagiarism, 
the practice of experimenting with, re-arranging and 
personalising the bones of culture - the tenets of 
society - is a godsend to P-Orridge. 

"Nothing is immune and nothing is sacred. And 
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to live in a world where 
nothing is immune and nothing is sacred. And no 
one could tell you what was the correct way to do 
something." 

Though usually ignored by the music press, there 
have been several other PTV albums released since 
'Dreams’ hit the record stores in 1983; such as the 
Pagan Day picture disc, released at 23.00 hrs on the 
23rd December '84 and deleted 23 hours later. Then 
there have been the three Psychic TV Themes LPs. 
Featuring Aleister Crowley singing in Enochian, 
piano scales that drift up into peaks like a healthy 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 21 


sales graph, and the banging and blowing of human 
thighbone trumpets. The trumpets not only stretch 
the capacity of the Musicians Union (who still have 
problems with emulators), but are in fact a long 
standing set of ritual tools. Called Tkan-dun' in Tibet 
where they originate, they are crafted from the 
femur of (supposedly) either a murderer, a person 
who died violently, or a virgin - their sound being 
thought to call up the restless spirit of the dead 
person. Many such thighbones are several hundred 
years old, often elaborately decorated in silver 
threadwork and semi-precious stones. The less deluxe 
versions are finished in long-lasting human skin. 

December '85 saw the release of the superb PTV 
soundtrack to the Mantis ballet 'Mouth of the 
Night, an event which combined choreographer 
Micha Bergese (from The Company Of Wolves movie) 
with Jarman's set design and the most eerie, echoing 
score the troupe have ever danced to. 

Being presented with a totally lifeless and 
unsuitable piece of music from the commissioned 
composer, Bergese wanted to dump the music and 
ask someone else to provide the soundtrack, but he 
knew no-one who could come up with the goods 
before the show opened at Brighton's Gardner 
Centre just six days later. Jarman phoned his pal, and 
within 24 hours PTV were ensconced in the studio, 
writing and recording the soundtrack around a video 
of the ballet's dress rehearsal in one 36 hour stint, 
and hot-footing over to Mantis at Pineapple dance 
studios in Covent Garden, giving them just two days 
to rehearse to the completely new soundtrack. The 
finished product resulted in the unlikely sight of 
P-Orridge’s skills being raved over by beautiful 
ballerinas on MTV. 

Early in 1987 The Temple was presented with a 
problem. Lack of a record deal and a lack of cash on 
the one hand, and a deluge of requests from the 
public asking for more PTV-related product on the 
other. Always original. Genesis then hit upon an idea 
that would solve both problems and be in keeping 
with his wish to make PTV as demystified as possible. 
At the same time, it would present The Temple as a 
living entity, using records and their covers as a 
regular platform for messages and diary, while at the 
same time having the added bonus of irritating the 
record industry. Between early 1987 and 1989, 
Temple records would release one new Psychic TV 
live LP on the 23rd day of each MONTH for twenty 
three months. All the records were packaged in 
almost identical covers, pressed in limited editions of 
between 3,000 and 5,000, and numbered in series. 
Retailing cheaply at around £3.50 each, they gave 
the fans what they wanted and the Temple the 
income necessary for its survival. The record shops 
hated the idea. The music press couldn't cope with 
the project. The music industry in general thought 
that it debased the concept of album releases - they 
preferred reviewing, selling, hyping and generally 
lauding LPs as if their releases were cultural 
landmarks of mammoth importance. "The long 
awaited U2 album, the Springsteen LP it took three 


years to record you've all been waiting for..." As the 
rock giants spent hundreds of thousands on videos, 
recordings and merchandise, little PTV reverted - 
partly out of necessity - to the punk ethics that had 
inspired P-Orridge to form Throbbing Gristle in the 
first place, over a decade previously. 

On an even more esoteric note, there was also the 
Jim Jones LP, made up of sections of the recordings 
made of the last speeches of the lovely Reverend and 
his followers, right up until Jonestown committed its 
communal 'suicide'. As a study in paranoia, mass 
hallucination and lemming-like control practices 
(Socialism and Christianity in this case), it's on a par 
with the closed, doped, opiated, homosexual order 
of assassins of Alamout - the Hashishin. A modern 
microcosm of the Control theory in practice that's 
still probably under the microscope in some dingy 
office in downtown Washington D.C. Temple Records 
produced a limited edition numbering 993 copies of 
the record, one for each member of the Peoples 
Temple who snuffed it for Jesus and the Guyanan 
camp - each disc being stamped in gold 'Dead Body 
Number One', 'Dead Body Number Two’ and so on 
until the grisly collection is complete. These projects 
- ignored not only because they are by definition 
not part of popular culture, but because editors do 
not think young people should be informed about 
things that offend their own Moony sensibilities - 
are, however, mere stop gaps between the last major 
album and the new masterwork, recorded by Psychic 
TV and The Angels of Light. 

The Starlit Mire is a configuration of assorted 
novas. Pope John Paul, Anton La Vey, and the 
bleached, chlorinated bones of Brian Jones. If 
Crowley rears his shaved head at all, it's in deference 
to his role in Sgt Pepper rather than the 
unintelligible Book Of The Law, as this is the Temple 
at its most accessible yet. Brilliant light and dark 
hyperdelic pop and Acid House trash fashioned by 
now fully competent musicians with a sense of 
direction and a (third) eye on effect rather than 
purpose. 

Due to lack of money the album sits, literally, on 
the shelf. In need of a few finishing touches that will 
amount to £5,000 worth of studio time, and the 
backing and distribution of a company with more 
muscle than tiny Temple Records - if that effect is to 
be widespread. Gen has tried to woo a new contract, 
but the majors just don't want to know. Whatever 
their promise and international cult status, PTV are 
just too much trouble, too mischievous, too 
sophisticated to take the risk with in these days of 
wavering sales and the return to glamrock heroics 
and idolism and the splintering fads of Americana - 
House, Hip Hop, Hi Energy, et al. Perhaps also they 
remember the stunt Genesis pulled on them a few 
years ago, sending all the big West One companies 
a 9-inch long solid brass dildo, each one carved with 
the corporation's names around the glans... CBS, 
EMI, Polygram... and stamped at the base with 
'Psychic TV Fuck the Record Industry'. The ploy cost 
hundreds, but all too often humourless, budget- 




22 • RAPID EYE 1 


BRIAN JONES 

$ 

Died For Your Sins 


watching A & R departments are of the attitude that 
they just don't want to get involved with people like 
them. Indeed, there is a lot of the 'People Like Them' 
attitude towards PTV. (Although The Starlit Mire has 
still to be released, sections of it have appeared on 
other records, such as the Temple Records album. 
Allegory And Self. Corporate small-mindedness has 
largely been countered through the use of their own 
independent label, which PTV use on occasions to air 
new studio material. Due to its small size, however, 
Temple releases can never compete with records 
released by the major companies, and are unlikely to 
achieve high chart placings due to lack of 
advertising, radio plugging, and distribution). 

One thing that went some way to sweeten the 
large record companies and update the static public 
image of "Tampon Man" P-Orridge was the release 
of PTV's biggest selling single to date, 'Godstar', a 
song about Brian Jones. The one in the Rolling 
Stones. 

"And you were so beautiful 

And you were so very special 

I wish I was with you now 

I wish I could save you somehow..." 

—Godstar, PTV 1985 

"Well, when we were recording 'Godstar', I don't 
know if people generally know this but when we're 
using a 24 track studio we only ever use 23 tracks. 
It's just a tradition really. There's always one track 
free for...the unexpected. Well, the recording had 
gone on a long time and it got to an impasse point 
where we - these things always sound corny but I 
don't care - we were all so emotionally involved in 
it, everyone was in an intense state, and there was a 
strange atmosphere in the studio. We were all tired, 
we'd all been in there about a week and we'd put 
more into that one track than we had into any 
whole LP. And because of the subject we wanted it 
to be respectful, accurate and a reflection. Ken 
Thomas was there and an engineer called Mark 
Fishlock. Jordi Vallis of the World Satanic Network 
and some of Psychic TV. Anyway, we decided to do 
a Raudives experiment, /know, like in his book 
'Breakthrough' [Taplinger Publishing, NY, 1971) 
where he uses little diodes to record the voices of 
the dead on tape. So Hillmar, who's an electronics 
whizzkid made this diode, cat's whiskers thing. I 
don't know the electronic ins and outs of it but the 


basic idea is that it’s like a receiver without having 
any charge in it. It's supposed to screen any outside 
signals." 

And leave the tape free from interference like 
radio. 

"Yeah, leave the tape so nothing can get on it, to 
stop things being picked up. So we ran the master 
tape with the empty track, track 23, on 'record', and 
we all sat down and turned the lights down and did 
what you'd do in a seance. Trying to commune 
with... Brian Jones. And the first time we ran it 
through and played it back and there was nothing. 
Then the second time we ran it back there was also 
nothing. Then, the third time we ran it through 
there was a very clear, loud sound under certain 
words which Ken Thomas and the studio engineer 
said was like nothing they'd ever heard in a studio. 
Not an electronic sound, not an interference sound. 
It wasn't generated by any of the equipment, and 
we’d isolated the studio. ” 

This was on track 23 when you listened to the 
whole thing or just that one channel? 

"No. Just listening to the one track. Then we 
played it back with the whole thing, to see what it 
sounded like, and it was EXACTLY under the words 
7 wish I was with you now'. Perfect beat, time, 
everything." 

Will it be heard on the LP? 

"No, only subliminally." 

What sort of noise was it on its own then, an 
electronic noise? 

"Sort of a... cccrroagghh noise! But it wasn't like 
the noise you get from radio interference. It was 
sort-of electrical, but also a hissing noise as well, but 
not one you could get if you sat down and tried to 
reproduce it. And it was really precise, split-second." 

He also plays piano on the LP? 

"Oh yes, well that was easy, not so mysterious. We 
just sampled his piano from 'Satanic Majesties', put 
it onto an Emulator 2 and we could play Brian Jones 
playing piano on the LP." 

Have you credited him? 

"Well no, that might cost us money!" 

Godstar was released on the 28th February 1986 
(the anniversary of Brian Jones' birthday) while the 
group toured Europe. The single reached Number 
One in the Independent Charts and featured in the 
Top Fifty of the national placings, selling some 
40,000 copies between March and June of that year. 
BBC Radio One initially refused to give the disc any 
airplay amid rumours of disquiet from Jagger 
himself, who was understandably miffed at the 
song's finger-pointing lyrical content. P-Orridge 
compounded the problem at a promotion for the 
single staged at Virgin's Oxford Street Megastore, 
where PTV were booked to play a few songs. 
Grabbing the shop's Mick Jagger waxwork dummy, 
he proceeded to take it for a little 'dance' as amazed 
Japanese tourists clicked their Nikons at the clazy 
plonk lockers. The Godstar promo video, filmed on 
a tight budget by old T.G. ally Akiko Hada was 
picked up by cable channels SKY and MTV, and 





GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 23 



Brian Jones and Andy Warhol ponder the implications of Godstardom; New York, 1966. 


P-Orridge was beamed into seven million living 
rooms in nine countries across Europe. He also 
featured in the most in-depth interview of his career 
when questioned on satellite TV by Gary Davies (he 
was not eligible for his 'Young, Free and Single' T 
shirt on any count). Pop Fame at last. 

The release of Godstar was publicised in the form 
of 10,000 stickers, placed strategically around the 
country by Temple Initiates and sympathizers - in 
subways, trains, toilets, or cheekily in record shop 
windows. The first 5,000, looking like funeral cards, 
bear the simple message 'BRIAN JONES DIED FOR 
YOUR SINS'. The second 5,000, on first sight, appear 
to be the same, except a second piece of information 
has been added in the shape of a small black psychic 
cross. Enigmatic, subliminal, amusing? Some would 
no doubt say an attempt to be shocking and 
unnecessarily mysterious - a criticism levelled at 
every aspect of Gen's work. 

Further qualification of most of the expressions of 
what is going on in his mind would defend his 
position. But just as simplifying and sanitising the 
image of PTV would probably result in their 
becoming a fairly successful, quite rich pop group, it 
would also tend to defeat the object. What point 
releasing a record or T-shirt or sticker if you have to 
attach a book to each explaining, in more 
straightforward terms, just what it all means. Such is 
the quandary of any artist if his motivations are not 


purely commercial. The line you draw between the 
History and the Mystery, the Appliance and the 
Science, could be the one used to hang you from. 

"Well, as with anything you do, hopefully, that 
sticker is the top of a pyramid. It could just as well 
be a book, a feature film, a record, a social 
movement. That's why I can see what Derek (Jarman) 
meant when he said to you that it's very hard to 
explain anymore. I can't give you a whole answer. I 
can try." 

Consider it an exercise. That sticker works on a 
variety of levels. 

"Yes, there's one very simple level which is that it's 
deliberately sarcastic of Christian values and slogans. 
But also it could be addressed to the Rolling Stones 
still surviving. In which case, from the way I observed 
what happened to Brian Jones I would say it’s 
accurate, it's reportage. A jab in the ribs asking for 
a response. It’s also designed to embarrass the 
remaining Stones. It's also affectionate of Brian 
Jones, and is therefore meant to be like an epitaph 
on a gravestone. To the average person in the street 
it's meant to totally confuse them and make them 
wonder what it's all about, and make some people 
who are old enough to remember what happened 
perhaps think what they may have thought at the 
time - that he never got a fair deal." 

Gen has always been one for able labels anyway - 
remember the spate of black and red psychic crosses. 



24 • RAPID EYE 1 


or the 'Assume this phone is tapped' stickers that 
kept turning up in phone boxes in London some 
years ago? With P-Orridge subversion is always 
effected through the avenues of disposable, mass 
produced popular culture. 

“If Warhol had done something like that, he'd 
have produced it in wallpaper and covered a 
gallery's walls with it. Have a few nice cut-outs of 
Brian Jones, and it'd all look very chic and 
beautifully presented, and so it would increase his 
artistic credibility and Art World profitability. But I've 
always been more interested in doing that same kind 
of thing on the street, semi-anonymously, to see 
what really happens. To see what effect it has in 
terms of generating gossip on the street. 'Have you 
seen this or that?' and 'what does it mean7 and so 
on." 

The Psychic Cross design does that, so too does the 
Temple usage of the number 73'. Art on the street 
is instantly socially effective. As P-Orridge learnt 
years ago, Art on gallery walls is not. Look at local 
papers around the country and you'll eventually 
come across the smalltown trivia on which legends 
are made. Here are a few cuttings: 

"Barclays Bank in Didsbury was daubed with slogans 
in an unexplained attack last week... as well as an 
anarchy symbol there were three examples of 
another symbol which baffled staff...a vertical line 
with three horizontal lines through it. They have no 
idea of its meaning. Do you?" 

"'Black Magic' symbols and graffiti have been 
daubed on the walls at Walsall's parish church and 
officials say the artistic vandals are costing the 
council thousands of pounds in repairs...a spokesman 
told the Observer that the symbols looks like the 
Greek Eoka sign with a cross through it, although 
some thought it could be a black magic symbol." 

“Police still have no idea what the number '23' 
means and why it was spray painted on six local 
churches last weekend. We can’t find any 
significance to put on the number' Captain Mark 
Valleric said... ” 

“You may not know what this symbol means, but 
if you've been walking around Exeter recently you 
can’t have helped notice it. Sprayed in black paint 
this mysterious little symbol has cropped up all over 
town, leaving passers-by pondering... The symbol of 
the Russian Orthodox Church has been put forward 
as one possibility and the cross of St. Catherin 
another..." 

“The police have said that they have been told 
that the number '23', sprayed on several buildings 
recently may be a reversal of '32', which experts say 
represents Jesus Christ... Rev. Dennis Hancock agreed 
the reversal of Christian symbols is common in Satan 
worship, though he doubts that the graffiti has 
much to do with religion. 'There’s always the 
possibility' he said. 'But I’m inclined to believe it's 
something to do with the pornography issue'. 
Hancock said a recent push by the local Fellowship of 
Churches organisation to ban X-rated movies may 


have prompted the vandalism." 

"The Rev. Frank Manieri of St. Marys Catholic 
Church, Shadyside, believes the recent outbreak of 
graffiti in the area has no meaning. 'It has to be 
somebody with a random number. A person with a 
low mentality not thinking of anything more original 
than two-three.’" 

Thou shalt not snigger. At least such press reaction 
to the antics of wayward PTV fans (who, incidentally, 
are encouraged to act responsibly in the spreading 
of propaganda) prove that policemen, officials and 
priests don't read Rapid Eye. But, more seriously, 
when one looks at Gen's work - his realisation that, 
quite simply you can't express ideas without words 
and symbols - one does tend to see what all this is 
about. Information takes on a dynamism all of its 
own, and reveals all sorts of paranoia, prejudice and 
stupidity when let loose on the general community. 
But back to Godstar, another loaded, coded new 
word that acts on the imagination. 

“I came up with this whimsical idea that first of all 
there were Hollywood stars, then Warhol came up 
with the idea that there were Superstars, then the 
mass media moved on to Megastars, so the final one 
has to be Godstar! Only to qualify for Godstar status 
you have to be dead.” 

A book with every sticker. The things that interest 
him as projects, and the results of those projects, are 
things that encapsulate hundreds of threads. They 
also are things that act as vehicles for many of his 
associates to put their skills and ideas into on a 
variety of different levels. Such an arrangement is 
possible within the pool of loosely amalgamated 
individuals that make up the Temple. A group of 
writers, musicians, technicians, film makers, painters 
that is as much a mutually supportive, though often 
diverse, arts movement as it is anything else. 

Although it is Gen's charisma and mostly his ideas 
that dominate the Temple which he co-founded, he 
is by no means the sole source of its substance. For 
instance, although he may write half of the Temple's 
texts himself, the other half is just as likely to come 
from the Temple-stimulated brains of writers such as 
Jon Savage, David Tibet or people such as those who 
contribute to Rapid Eye. The words of the Temple 
messages being passed on by the 'Temple 
Spokesman' on videos who has the honeyed voice of 
PTV tattooist Mr Sebastian and the face of Derek 
Jarman (a nice, eerie combination). And the 
soundtrack to the Temple is as heavily influenced by 
Alex Fergusson, Hillmar, Andrew Poppy, Dave Ball or 
Monte Cazazza as it is by P-Orridge himself. The 
stunning early visuals created by The Temple, 
expressed in a series of videos, books and posters, 
were largely put together by Peter 'Sleazy' 
Christopherson, (now of Coil) who was a professional 
graphic and video artist and partner of the Hipnosis 
design firm responsible for so many record sleeves 
and pop videos in the past. In all areas, the Temple 
is a co-operative venture. Godstar, though, was quite 
definitely the product of a node of Gen's brain cells. 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 25 


The whole thing started in 1965. 

"We sat for half an hour in the cafeteria of the TV 
studios in Birmingham and chatted. All of the Stones 
were there, about to perform '19th Nervous 
Breakdown' on 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'. And even 
then he was completely separate from the others. 
Not physically, but going back to what we were 
saying about 'auras' and so on, there was a bubble 
around him that was almost physically present it was 
so strong. Very mysterious and very disturbing. 
Though simultaneously there was also a feeling of 
love and emotion and confusion. It really was very 
weird. I mean I can actually see the table as we sat 
around it as if I were still there, and I can still feel 
the sensation, and I can still see it around him, as 
visible as light. He was not with them. He was not 
present with them at that table." 

But weren't the Stones nasty to Jones (stealing 
Anita Pallenberg from him, ostracising him, forcing 
him to leave the group he helped create) because of 
his apparently difficult character? And weren't Gen's 
heightened emotions caused by a simple experience 
common to any young fan when meeting his heroes 
in the flesh? 

“Well, I was never a Stones fan really. I mean, I 
always hated The Beatles who I thought were a load 
of wimps, and compared to them I liked the Stones 
because they seemed a much better vehicle for 
rebellion. So I bought their early singles. But there 
was something about him. It didn't dawn on me 
until a long time afterwards that I didn't buy any 
Rolling Stones records after he died. It wasn't a 
conscious decision, I just lost interest in them. I 
realised that it wasn't the Rolling Stones that I was 
ever really interested in, except for a few pieces of 
their music. Apparently it was the projection of the 
Brian Jones enigma that drove me to the group, and 
I think a lot of other people too, quite 
unconsciously." 

Up until early '85, when Godstar was recorded, this 
writer had never heard Genesis mention Brian Jones, 
though looking back at least two years before, I do 
remember him, on a typical shopping expedition 
that ended with him going home with armfuls of 
books, old records, clothes and curios - buying a 
book about him. A colleague of mine was surprised 
and asked him why he'd got it, and he hadn't really 
replied, changing the subject. Looking back it's clear 
that he was even then engaged in his copious 
'research' - secretively. He has now long since read 
every available title on Jones, typically not opening 
his mouth about a project until he knew exactly 
what his feelings were. 

“It does seem that in lots of ways he was 
obnoxious, but it seems to have been one of those 
chicken and egg things. The others were cutting him 
out a lot and maybe that was his defence. I don't 
claim to be able to speak about him from great 
personal experience, but a lot of people I've met said 
they found him appalling to deal with." 

But why Brian Jones? 

"Well, it's as if some people are chosen, against 


their better judgement, to be a vehicle for the 
unconscious of their generation and their time. 
When he died in '69 the Sixties just closed down. I’m 
not particularly interested in the personalities 
involved. You've got to remember that the whole of 
the Sixties was riddled with drugs and various people 
were unstable and could see money, power, fame 
revolving around them, so maybe they're not totally 
accountable for their selfishness and greed. Though 
of course you could argue that they didn't have to 
take drugs. 

"It's just a sad story. He became inconvenient, he 
wanted to experiment with different music and 
soundtracks and so on, and that didn't fit in with 
someone's idea of what the Rolling Stones should 
be. It’s just a shame there was nobody around to 
influence things away from self indulgence. There 
was no-one around him loving him, loving just HIM, 
for what he was. And it interests me because it was 
a symptomatic reflection of that decade. So I see him 
as a shattered mirror of the Sixties. He encapsulates 
all the different threads, spoken and unspoken. The 
archetype angel destroyed." 

So that is what a "Godstar" is. A scapegoat. An 
emotional crutch. An iconoclastic symbol for things 
that seem not to be able to be expressed in any 
other form. Godstars don't just die young and 
famous, but die FOR something in some perverse 
way, for the social evils and cultural dreams they 
have been chosen to represent. 

"So in a sense that sticker means he died for 
everyone's sins in terms of popular culture. Even 
ours, even now. Because we are all part of an 
ongoing history and I think that the sad thing at the 
moment is that it’s not fashionable to be aware of, 
and value, your history." 

And that's one reason why British society decays 
like a bad molar with rotten, forgotten roots. It 
being inconvenient to remember the darker areas of 
its past - the slavery and gung ho diplomacy - and 
socially unacceptable to celebrate its achievements in 
the arts and culture, it's fashionable and easier to 
deride it all as if a bad smell given off by a senile old 
man. Culture and history are means by which we can 
fleece the tourists, and that is that. Britain is a 
society based on two words, "Me" and "Now". Life 
experienced as a channel-hopping exercise through 
various assortments of fleetingly fashionable junk 
presented as reality by the media. The British 
attitude of self-hate shows up in the obsessional love 
for all things American, and is most obvious in our 
total disrespect for our culture - Theatre, Painting, 
Design, Music, Literature. Britain is inhabited by 
people who punish their bodies with a diet of lager 
and junk food, who punish their children with fifty 
pence coins to pump into the fruit machine, who 
punish their minds with the unending consumption 
of wallpaper TV; soaps; game shows; satellite 
American football; and degrade or destroy all that 
they perceive as existing outside of their cultural 
windtunnel. Hate and punishment are everywhere. 

As Gen says: “We don't deserve to survive as a 




26 • RAPID EYE 1 


society, because we don't even love ourselves." And 
we don't 'love ourselves' because we are afraid to, as 
we are a society built upon layers of guilt - for the 
crucifixion, the reformation, the Empire and the wet 
dream. Guilty as individuals and guilty en masse. 
What is worse, Britain wallows in it, and elects 
politicians who are here to administer the 'medicine' 
we deserve (we also have to be guilty for the 
decadence of having jobs in the '60s). The envy and 
submission imposed by 'class' compounds the 
problem, making people grateful to take what they 
deserve like lambs to the slaughter, or - in the public 
school mentality of those in power - happy to accept 
the smacking given by Margaret the Maitresse. As 
P-Orridge associate Kathy Acker said, it's an S/M 
society. Guilt, like fashion, sexual stereotyping and 
racial pride, is a great weapon of Control. Adolf 
Hitler, another politician with precious few ideas 
who took pride in being hard, rather than caring, 
did a similar thing to Germany in the Thirties, 
burning books instead of videos and dispensing with 
true cultural achievements in favour of artful 
museums of National Socialist Party propaganda. In 
many Initiates' eyes. Hitler and Thatcher are two 
masks on the same face. The face they hide is a 
snake-riddled skull - the face of Death. The same old 
face of Control. After all, Socialism and Conservatism 
have proved in practice to be inter-changeable. 
Identical but for the most minor detail. The only 
route to individual sanity is to be empirical. 

The art of the Temple must, therefore, be 
offensive to the agents of Control if it is to be able 
to inform. It cannot allow itself to be engulfed and 
capitalised on - like Wagner - if it is to be of any 
social worth. It must also embrace its past culture, 
not the convenient fixation with the present and 
reject all considerations of 'good taste' (the last 
refuge of the witless) and social acceptability. It must 
love itself if it is to learn anything about itself. 
Goethe's bitter sorrow for Germany could be 
transposed to P-Orridge's lips and modern Britain. 

P-Orridge took plenty of wet liberal stick for 
visiting the ovens at Auschwitz in the mid-seventies. 
PTV are still prone to be thought of as somehow 
fascistic, particularly by people who accused 
P-Orridge-related groups Death in June and A 
Certain Ratio of similar leanings (even though Simon 
Topping's band ACR got its name from Brian Eno's 
801 lyric “looking for a certain ratio" and has a 
multi-racial line up). Genesis says his visit to the 
death camp (taken in whilst visiting friends in 
Poland) served to remind him of the danger and 
horror of man's "stupidity". 

“Those who do not remember the past 

are condemned to repeat it." 

—George Santayana 

Unlike Pope John Paul II, who visited Dachau in '83 
and rightly received no flack as I recall, P-Orridge at 
least used his time at Auschwitz as fruitful research. 
He found out that the camp - now a museum - and 


its ovens had been kept in full working order, and 
could quite easily be used tomorrow. He also set up 
one of his little 'tests'. 

Using an innocuous looking photo of the camp 
that made it look like a factory set at the end of a 
leafy lane (a deliberate impression created by the 
Nazis), he incorporated this into the trendy, 
acceptable logo of Industrial Records and later, after 
it had been absorbed into the cosy punk anar-chic 
establishment, let it be known publicly what the 
photograph was really of. In sadly predictable 
fashion, shock horrors ensued among the supposedly 
enlightened press of Sounds (Morgan Grampian's 
idea of enlightened), and NME (ditto IPC). The same 
people who only months before had carried pictures 
of Siouxie and Sid in swastika armbands (as the 
Pistols and Banshees never really threatened 
anything, that was OK - this P-Orridge character 
though, was something altogether different). "So 
immediately that photograph almost physically 
changed before their eyes. Just because they'd been 
given one extra line of information." 

In the Information War, illustrations like that are 
useful, if a little mischievous. Information is a bullet, 
the human voice a weapon. Heard any good voice¬ 
overs on ITN recently? And as we all know, it's here, 
in the realm of Television, that the real power lies. 
Recognising this fact and acting as soon as the 
practicalities allowed (amassing video equipment and 
technical ability within the Temple) the company 
whose plastic ID cards say 'PSYCHIC TELEVISION LTD.' 
in clear letters at the top, was formed in 1981. Using 
video not as a promotional toy to aid in the selling 
of records, but as an end in itself, PTV have recorded 
many more inches of video tape than audio. At the 
moment, distributing videos by mail and 
incorporating them into their live transmissions, they 
can only hope to chip away at the monolithic 
structure of TV, but it is a start. Never ones to take 
the hint and be put off by apparent impracticality 
and technological myth, the Temple has now 
mastered this, THE most esoteric of the arts and 
sciences, and when cable and satellite proliferates 
under European de-regulation, Gen hopes it will be 
there on the channel selector button marked 'PTV'. 
The move of emphasis away from records to video 
was merely the first step; as pieces of plastic lose 
more and more of their potency as capsules of 
information and demonstration, the scale of PTV's 
visual operations will increase. 

Television is an essential area for the Temple to 
invest in, as it is not only the valium of the people, 
a daily score of bore, but an actively oppressive 
mode of Control. 

In a world which, as P-Orridge says, "lives through 
its media", life's choices are limited only to the 
number of channels on the set. Televised reality is all 
there is, and often. Television's truth is the only 
thing to believe. Through 'light entertainment' we 
are emasculated as individuals - adopting and 
identifying with limiting stereotypes. And in 'serious' 
Television - that dealing with the most finite, square, 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 27 



flat reality - the effects of a voice-over, an edit, a 
use of lighting or camera angle or piece of music, 
create for us a common geography. We share the 
same trigonometric points in this 625-lined world; 
the same prompts; because we share the same TV. 
The mass conscious is programmed en masse - 
therefore we share the same programmed response. 

But Control is not only propagated by the people 
who television programmes represent - the 
programmers are as much helpless products of 
Control as any of us. Control is an intrinsic function 
of any linear form of mass communication - it must 
be as it is the logical product of programmed brains. 
However 'radical' a programme may be, it is still a 
programme. Psychic Television strives to 
de-programme. Therefore, although it would be 
more entertaining for PTV to produce fast, in-focus 
TV and be more acceptable if they posed around in 
front of a few screens at their performances showing 
off pretty images, again, it would be pointless. So 


The Test Card and sensory apparatus 

PTV adopt a creative dialectic, the 'Third Mind' 
technique when making television, approaching the 
TV studio with the unaffected curiosity of a child - 
pressing buttons, experimenting with images and 
noises - playing with the mechanics of television. 

Without formatting, one image may clash with 
another, creating a third, new, image. One idea may 
clash with another, creating a third idea. A new idea. 
And new ideas lead to new understandings, and new 
perceptions. 

Having said that, the process cannot be entirely 
random - Genesis choosing what images to 
incorporate into the mix. But the presentation is. Just 
as Dada did with painting and Burroughs did with 
writing, PTV were the first to do with Television; 
without regard to stylism, technical ability or 
aesthetics: they broke it up and abused it in order to 
see what happened. Give a child an Airfix model kit 
and he may not build a plane, but he might build an 
interesting sculpture that looks far more fun. 
































28 • RAPID EYE 1 


All this may be apparently very trendy and arty 
perhaps, but Gen saw no other choice. 

"We're living in the age of television, so we have 
to deal with it, it's a matter of physical and mental 
survival. TV is used to hammer people into the 
ground, to make them stupid and keep them quiet. 
The answer to that situation isn't just to turn it off 
and try to ignore it. By doing that you're admitting 
its power and admitting that you're scared of it. 
You've got to go and kick it in the face, pull it to 
pieces and see what's going on. And it's very 
interesting that with the minimum amount of money 
and expertise, we've actually managed to dig out 
and reveal a lot of weird things; worms and 
reverberations that people didn't know were there. 
Some people are stimulated by that illustration of 
how powerful Television is, others just say they don't 
like it, as simple as that, treating the whole thing as 
entertainment. The attitude is summed up by the 
odd reviews we sometimes get from a few very 
repressed journalists. The irony is that when they 
write these totally over-the-top nasty pieces they are 
actually illustrating our point very well. They are 
describing what we’ve done and how powerful it is 
and how much it's affected them. But they're 
actually so unsophisticated as people that they don’t 
even realise that is what they're doing." 

Self-appointed brainiacs of youth culture, 
journalists often describe such things whilst 
labouring under the impression that the perpetrators 
- PTV - and we, the audience, are less aware of what 
television can do than they - the journalists - are. 
We, the herd, the unwashed mass, are, it seems, not 
supposed to trouble our stupid little heads about 
such things. 

The technique of Psychic TV is also confused with 
the substance, meaning that in a printed media 
obsessed with hedonism and style rather than 
substance (one need not exclude the other), that 
P-Orridge's outfit is received as being a part of that 
artless, lumpen mass of Duvet scratch trash 
propagated by the likes of crazy Channel 4. Not 
surprisingly, Gen thinks they amount to rather more 
than that. 

“Perhaps we are the first organisation to make 
truly surrealist television. Television that investigates 
the subconscious and the unconscious. Whereas 
Salvador Dali would have done a fantastic painting, 
we would try to get the same jarring of sensibilities, 
the same confusion leading to revelation through 
juxtaposing television and film images and sound. 
Because as most people realise, film and sound are 
integrated in order to manipulate the perceptions 
and emotions of the viewer. The viewer is being 
bewitched, and in that sense they are put in a 
position of vulnerability." 

PTV's cut-up of reality is aimed at short circuiting 
the training the brain has had - to twist up the map 
of that shared geography and make the viewer find 
his own way, rather than accepting what emanates 
from the TV screen without thought. Be it the 
blatant twists of facts and demographs on the BBC, 


or the more general, subtle and seductive 
presentation of that punchline reality that gently 
radiates from the tube in the all-forgiving form of 
Entertainment. Surreal images are dirty pictures put 
into the brainwash. 'Psychic' television is that which 
alters the relationship between man and what PTV 
recognise as being his latest piece of sensory 
apparatus - the TV set. 

This is also socially positive TV, in that it 
encourages activity rather than passivity. It reclaims 
the pleasure of life from the death of TV. 

"Even Pleasure has become something which 
people do not seek after themselves but have 
presented to them in simulated forms. So that even 
an inherently active form of expression has become 
a pastime and the result is that expression becomes 
depression." 

Psychic TV has never intended to be a replacement 
for conventional programming, but rather the first 
step in the de-programming, without regard to 
redundant assumptions about entertainment. So 
Psychic Transmissions are made to be viewed when 
conventional TV is off the air, at night - the time 
when you are encouraged to be in bed. When the 
centroclines snooze and quietly wank through their 
dreamless sleep. 

The content of PTV transmissions has inevitably 
been banned, bleeped and blotched out. The powers 
that be take an interest in any package bearing the 
rubber-stamped insignia of the Temple, resulting in 
PTV videos in the past being posted from its formerly 
affiliated branch (run by 'De-Coder') in more liberal 
West Germany. The press has said that they show 
scenes of torture (untrue) and are 'shocking'. The 
latter may be true for some people (depending on 
what you find shocking), because they emphasise the 
aspects of life normally suppressed by the apparatus 
of Control for being subversive, contentious, 
disturbing or too sexual. It follows, using Temple 
logic, that it is exactly because those areas are 
suppressed in a deliberate attempt to limit 
knowledge and experience, that they SHOULD be 
shown. 

Rumours about one particular PTV video abound 
throughout the backwaters of the media. 
Accusations from some individuals and groups with 
vested interests claim that they feature child abuse 
and Devil Worship. I have seen the video in question 
on several occasions, and personally know or have 
met several of the individuals featured in it. 
Disappointingly for the gutter press and assorted 
'Christian' groups, I can confirm that the video 
features nothing more shocking than a performance 
art pseudo-'ritual' involving some naked cavorting, 
tattooing, piercing and so on. The participants are all 
clearly adults, and out-takes from the video, which 
include scenes of the participants laughing and 
joking, prove that they are all willing 'actors' in the 
piece. Far more sexually explicit and certainly more 
violent material is openly available in any Sex shop 
or video store in Europe or America. Indeed, the 
majority of hanky-panky that does take place is out 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 29 


of focus and distorted to such an extent that it 
might as well be anything. Anyone who has been 
familiar with the performance art of P-Orridge over 
the years will clearly be able to see what is going on. 
Uninformed individuals with nasty minds will 
obviously see whatever they like. Which is rather 
part of the point I thought. 

Psychic television reclaims the night and fills it 
with colour and information. "To cause things 
hidden in the dark to appear, and to take the 
darkness away from them." 

But if it's TV that makes up "50% of PTV", then 
the other half of the organisation is concerned with 
what to show on those 23 screens. The theorising 
and substantiating of that theory, of which TV 
images and soundtracks are just the results. It is here 
where the Inner Circle of the Temple dwells. Beneath 
the slick talking-head facade of the Temple, that 
which is put before the unblinking eye of the camera 
and fed to the public in the tactile form of records, 
books, videos and all the wall-splattering, 
symbol-carrying merchandise of pop culture, lies the 
Temple itself. 

A temple without walls that draws its initiates 
from an international conspiracy of unrest. Dealing 
with contemporary art, sociology, religion, 
communication, neurology,' and that grey area 
between the finite fact of science and the dogma of 
theology - Philosophy. A combination of interests 
glued together under the Psychic Cross and run 
along the lines of an intellectual urban(e) terroristic 
organisation and mock 'occult' fraternity. The type 
which the occult establishment would rather do 
without. 

In that elitist and overly jealous underworld of 
traditional occultism, this populist high-tech Temple 
is not only generally considered undesirable, but also 
held in some real contempt. For example, I have on 
file a letter written by one David Rietti, just one of 
the many claimants to the 'leadership' of the OTO, 
the brotherhood once headed by Crowley. After the 
Temple of Psychic Youth produced a pamphlet along 
the lines of Crowley's LIBER OZ 77 (cheekily calling it 
Liber Ov 23) in 1987, Rietti threatened the Temple 
with "a war" which he "would be unable to 
control", something which P-Orridge and his Temple 
colleagues seemed to find most amusing. Some 
people will, it seems, go to almost any lengths to 
protect what they see as their 'power' and monopoly 
on mystery. 

Britain is absolutely choc-a-bloc with narrow¬ 
minded, so called 'magicians' who 'learn magic' by 
worming into mountains of arcane- looking 
'parchments' supplied to them by over-priced 
specialist bookshops: of witches who are convinced 
that 'the power' is a solely feminine 'gift' passed 
down genetically like buck teeth or freckles: of 
imbeciles who are sure that not only does evil exist 
in the palpable form of the Devil, but that he 
regularly plays hoofsie with them under the shabitat 
dining table over a glass of Bulls Blood. These 
pathetic types are, unfortunately, the bulk of the 



Televisual, sexual, magickal 


'occult' fraternity. The whole yuppie awareness of 
the Mind and Spirit, of wands and crystal balls (balls 
being the operative word), of wholefood, crystal 
power, alternative medicine and healthy living has 
provided many with a vast ego-trip through the 
whole of the 1980s and sprouted an accompanying 
service industry and alternative dating agency for the 
socially inept the bored, and the downright stupid. 
People sadly unable to come to terms with living in 
the last quarter of the 20th Century who have opted 



30 • RAPID EYE 1 


for a cosy, Luddite approach to life. 

This join-the-dots form of occultism is all very well 
if beneficial, but it has become merely a substitute 
religion for many and, as a result, covers a multitude 
of crappy, cranky ideologies that only serve to make 
the overall situation more confused and socially 
ineffectual. 

Of course, the Temple of Psychic Youth has 
attracted its fair share of idiots. The smell of (black) 
candlewax pervades many seedy, spunk-stained 
'Temple' loft conversions - the purpose of this highly 
unromantic grail all too often being the simple 
acquisition of power, material wealth, 
image-building and sex. The fact is, however, that 
people drawn into the Temple of Psychic Youth for 
these reasons usually fall out from it pretty quickly. 
After all, if one wants to be pedantic, TOPY is clearly 
not really much to do with 'occultism' at all. The 
word 'occult' does of course imply 'secret 
knowledge', and nothing that pertains to the Temple 
is secret. All knowledge is shared, which is one of the 
reasons why it is so unpopular with many traditional 
would-be 'magicians', as it usurps their power, or, at 
least, their self-image. 

However, given the image of the occult in this 
country, it is not a surprising consequence of the 
Temple's high profile activity that it has wrongly 
been interpreted in much the same way as other 
groups. 

Initiates of this Temple though, do not generally 
feel the need to dress up in funny old clothes (even 
though those they wear at Tescos may be quite 
wacky). Nor do they exchange funny handshakes, or 
study the most elementary forms of physics or 
astrology towards the attainment of various pseudo¬ 
degrees that the circle may confer on them. It is the 
demystification of psychic research (research that the 
Temple feels should not, in social terms, remain 
secret or 'special' any longer) that is at the root of its 
existence and propaganda. As it does with television, 
the Temple digs around in the occult, researching 
and making public what has remained, in political 
and social terms, futile in its isolation. An isolation 
that is in itself a hangover from when 'Christian' 
society perceived such things as Ritual and Magic as 
a threat - burning witches, torturing 'heretics' and 
invading communities (like the Cathars or 
Albigensians) who based their lifestyles on different 
(some would say more enlightened) values. A process 
that the West still carries out in the form of 
meddling, moped-riding missionaries who quite 
deliberately set out to destroy far more ancient 
structures than those which they themselves 
represent, with a smug cultural Coca Cola Kid 
imperialism. 

The concepts of such things as ritual or the 
perception of a non-physical reality are 
misunderstood and now commonly seen as 
retrograde steps towards barbarianism and 
superstition. The Temple wishes to re-integrate such 
concepts into the human experience, and has 
therefore developed, quite consciously, a practical. 


logical, and presentable system to help this to be 
done. 

In this article I've hoped to present information 
that will increase, even if only superficially, the 
understanding of Genesis and The Temple and to 
give factual insights that have never before been 
reported. My explanations of what is going on 
within this movement may be incorrect, but I think 
it important that the motivations behind this deeper 
area of Temple activity should at least be presented 
as I see them. This section is really what it's all about 
- the blueprint from which all the aforementioned 
tactics derive. 

Taking for a moment the liberal, more 
contemporary view that the purpose of old occult 
imagery is to create archetypes from Jung's 
'Collective Unconscious' to focus on and achieve a 
similar set of results as those gained by Temple 
activity, even this rigid, belief-dependent structure is 
considered unnecessary and harmful by P-Orridge 
and other Initiates. 

So, rare in circles of the occult, there is no 
hierarchical structure in the Temple. Just as there are 
no pointy hats, goatee beards and Latin words, there 
are also no formalised rituals. There are no rules. In 
'admitting' and 'initiating' anyone who has the 
genuine desire to become associated, and helping 
them to realise their own potential in their own way 
purely by promoting informed self discovery, the 
Temple is taking its only political step. By passing 
information on like a viral infection, one-to-one, it 
hopes to nudge society gradually into perceiving 
reality in a different, and more 'realistic' way. To 
make what is now (due to the aforementioned 
misuse of occultism and its misrepresentation in the 
media) seen as being crackpot, unjustifiable and 
weird, to be accepted as a sensible possible step 
along the evolutionary path. To replace the dulling, 
dualistic perception of 'Either/Or', with what 
P-Orridge theatrically calls the 'Magickal Perception' 
of infinite parallels and possibility. The TOPY method 
is a simple lesson in orientation and advertising that 
is typically efficient. 

Temple ritual is tailored to suit the individual 
Initiate, and as such is just as likely to incorporate 
the trappings and fetishes of today - scratch videos. 
House music, rubber clothes and polaroids - as it is 
to use the (for some) equally viable symbolic 
weapons, pentagrams, and unintelligible utterances 
of old ritual. 

The primary difference between the Temple and 
other more traditional organisations, though, is that 
the results of ritual activity are interpreted in an 
altogether different way. Successes from spells, for 
example, are not attributed to the intervention of 
spirits or deities, but to the internal workings of the 
ordinary human brain, and the effect the human 
brain can have in emitting frequencies that effect 
the collective pool of frequencies between all 
humans. 

This may seem no big deal if the spells work the 
same but the terminology is different - but in wider. 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 31 


social terms, the difference is vital. Because in the 
TOPY manner, attempts at understanding are 
increased, woolly and futile involved explanations 
are dispensed with, and ultimately control of and 
access to the process is made more efficient. The 
intuitive ritual practice is not at odds with or 
separated from perceived scientific reality, but 
integrated with it. The everyday experiences and the 
lifestyle of the Initiate are incorporated into the 
Magickal Perception, thus psychic activity is 
embraced more readily as being as natural as 
physical activity. 

To illustrate the attitude of the Temple, and annoy 
those with a vested interest in keeping such matters 
couched in gothic mystery - therefore holding on to 
their tenuous self-appointed positions of superiority 
- here is the most basic type of experiment in the art 
and science of 'magick'. 

Imagine you have been treated badly in a 
restaurant - the food off, the service bad. You refuse 
to pay your bill, so you are beaten up and robbed. 
Circumstances dictate that you cannot retaliate in 
the ordinary manner. 

So. Go back the next few days, standing nearby 
the restaurant for half an hour at a time. Take 
photographs of the building. Record the sounds of 
the restaurant and the street outside on a Walkman. 
Steal a menu card from a table. Then, at a time you 
choose, develop the film. Cut the negative up and 
print your pictures of the street minus the 
restaurant. Overdub onto your recording the sound 
of breaking glass, of fire, of doors slamming shut. 
Concentrate your thoughts on the restaurant. Slowly 
cut the menu up, paying particular attention to the 
logo. Then bury all the photos and shredded card in 
your dustbin. Forget the incident. A month or so 
later the chances are that the restaurant will, for one 
reason or another, close down. 

In this Burroughs-inspired example - which 
basically just gives one the simple understanding of 
the psychology of such base magick - you are clearly 
not evoking external forces or worshipping horned 
creatures that manifest themselves at midnight - 
shitting on your Axminster. You are not even 
'psyching out' the enemy in the usual sense of the 
term by letting them know your intentions on a 
conscious level. Indeed, the explanation of how and 
why such a simple process works is not important 
here - though would, one thinks, be more 
satisfyingly described nowadays in the language of 
the neurologist and behavioral scientist than the 
warlock, even though nobody could really explain it. 
In this very easy example, it's clear that one is 
making contemporary symbols of the same process as 
used by witchdoctors and their ilk. Affecting change 
in the transmissions from and between humans, 
causing physical change to occur. 

The realisation of such popularised experiments 
too is that everyone can use their mind to produce 
physical change purely by mental activity, if they 
have the self-discipline necessary to train it to do so. 
The Temple is merely making the necessary 


information more available, and not attempting to 
explain such phenomena away with mumbo jumbo 
or creating a substitute structure of dogmatic belief 
around it. 

“Well, Burroughs would explain that by saying 
you're actually cutting up reality itself. That reality is 
like a tape and if you cut it up and distort it you 
make things happen. Why they do remains a 
mystery. To what extent the mechanical 
manipulation of reality affects things is just not 
measurable. The basic answer is - who cares, if it 
works? If nothing else a process like that is good 
therapy. “ 

The stock criticism of such experimentation, and, 
perhaps, realisation of power is that such things can 
be used irresponsibly, merely adding to the violence 
and conflict that already exist. Logically, though, 
such an argument could be used to support anything 
from censorship, to the lowering of educational 
standards, to dictatorship. P-Orridge would argue the 
case by saying that no extra power has been 
conferred on the individual anyway. By making such 
information more available and acceptable, people 
have simply been encouraged to experiment with 
and observe what they already possess. 

“Their argument is just like saying somebody went 
out and raped someone because they watched it on 
TV. They probably did, but that doesn't mean that 
there should be no TV." 

But people could say it's hardly a good advert for 
the proliferation of TV. 

“Yes, but people who take that position are saying 
in effect that there is no need for awareness because 
awareness is dangerous. It can be. If people do abuse 
it then you could, if you wanted, argue that it's 
because they have been given those perverted 
motivations as a direct result of the suppression and 
conditioning they’ve had in the first place. So be it. 
I just have the fundamental feeling that the human 
race is here to evolve and is capable of becoming 
something relatively interesting and special. And the 
only way to even begin to approach that is to learn 
the real way that we work, both physically and 
psychologically, and there's no easy way 'round that. 
If given the choice of either moving forward or 
stagnating - which is what we’re doing now - I'd 
gamble and move forward. And I think information 
and technique move things forward. For better or 
worse, quite honestly." 

Rather than a pseudo-religion or a sinister 
Thule-like fraternity then, the Temple is more like an 
open-ended Information Exchange that expresses 
itself using a hybrid of the traditional, esoteric, and 
contemporary arts. A result of the same brain, it's as 
snappy, modern and ideologically devious as TG once 
were. And as with any P-Orridge inspired project, the 
tendency is towards testing conditioning and 
individual response. It's thus confusing and 
provocative; flexible and undogmatic; lacking in 
convention and therefore (through any success it 
achieves), threatening to convention. 

Gen is not a very good singer in the classic style, 




32 • RAPID EYE 1 



The scars 


and his opinions, appearance, and writing, like his 
methods, may not be to everyone's taste. But his 
undeniable strength lies in the fact that anything he 
turns his hand to is effective on one level or another. 
Analyzing everything to the minute detail, the 
strengths, motivations, appeal and (most of all) 
weaknesses are discovered, and pressure applied at 
the most telling points. 

Because of this efficiency, this realisation and 
application of that potentially most ordinary of 
commodities - power - the Temple is threatening to 
institutions of any kind. Its very existence is proof in 
all spheres that an 'alternative' approach, founded 
on a purely information- based system can work, 
devoid of hierarchies and crippling, limiting 
structures of belief. 

Of the occultists that grumble, Gen remains both 
free from malice and unconcerned. Besides, if it's 
credentials that are important to gain acceptance in 
this closed order of fragmented cults, the Temple 
certainly could produce these in abundance. 

TOPY member Icelander Hillmar O. Hillmarsson is 
probably one of the most respected and 
authoritative young figures in European occultisim. 
So much so that more than one museum and private 
collection has entrusted him with curatorship over 
priceless archives of occult books and artefacts. This 
connection has, for example, given the Temple 
exclusive access and publishing rights to many of 
Aleister Crowley's unprinted letters and manuscripts. 
It has also encouraged the only bona fide Ordo 
Templi Orientis (forget the people in South America) 
to offer the Temple a permanent base at their 
headquarters in Switzerland. The building, designed 
to the Thelemic specifications of Frater Perdurabo 
himself, contains what is thought to be the largest 
and most complete occult library in existence, plus a 
theatre, hotel, temple, lecture rooms and alchemical 
laboratory. Gen daydreams about it sometimes. 


Fitted with a recording studio, computerised data 
system, gallery, cinema, TV studio and Dream 
Machine room; peopled by visiting Psychic Youths 
taking classes in such things as karate, breathing 
techniques and listening to lectures from the likes of 
Leary, Burroughs, or Colin Wilson, it all amounts to 
a tantalising proposition for P-Orridge to consider. 

At present, though, the Temple has neither the 
funds nor the inclination to retreat from the grime 
of British urban life to a bunker in the Alps - 
however well appointed. The Temple is most 
effective, for the moment at least, producing 
propaganda through pop culture on the streets of 
the biggest and most youth-sophisticated city in 
Europe, regardless of the criticism such a high profile 
attracts. 

P-Orridge sees no reason why, in the subterranean 
world of the occult, TOPY and the more orthodox 
societies, from the Rosicrucians to the I.O.T., cannot 
exist in tandem. However much they may disagree 
about methodology. 

"/ just don't think that those traditionalist groups, 
such as the OTO, are really honestly very interested 
in effecting a change in society. I think that if you 
care you have to be a part of society and its 
expression and popular culture. You have to set 
yourself up as an example and scapegoat. If you 
don't let people know what you do, how are they 
going to believe you when you say 7 did this and it 
works!' I think things like the OTO are primarily ego 
gratification and research into old ideas and old 
knowledge, which is fine. It's like a symphony 
orchestra still playing Beethoven is paralleled to 
Duran Duran playing 'The Reflex'. One does not have 
to exclude the other... I think, though, for me their 
way would be too easy. I've never been a joiner. I've 
never wanted to be subservient to a prescribed 
dogma of any kind, no matter how esoteric it might 
be. It just doesn't interest me. In all honesty I'd just 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 33 



The tattoos 


feel a complete arsehole standing in costume saying 
'Oh Sephiroth, Sephirah, I invoke thee!' You know, 
I just couldn't. And it'd be boring." 

That, then, is the explanation of why the Temple 
does not undertake any formalised rituals, though 
ritual itself is practised - sometimes for its own sake 
(as discipline), sometimes as a controlled experiment 
(research), and sometimes in order to produce a 
specific tremor in the fabric of physical reality (from 
the closing of a restaurant to the making of a 
perfect baby). The ritual aspect of Temple activity 
has, for tactical reasons, been underplayed since PTV 
burst onto the scene amid much blasphemy and scar 
tissue in '81 (record companies preferring to package 
wholesome sex - the kind Nik Kershaw clones offer 
on the back seat of Ford Escorts - to what they see 
as this pervy arty nonsense). Don't be fooled, 
though; ritual remains the bedrock of the Temple. 

In my mind, the reasons for the incorporation of 
ritual go something like this; Numbed by 
contemporary media and education, Man has been 
distanced from ritual - something the Temple views 
as a vital natural activity. In order to control more 
effectively, 'Control' has fragmented the human 
character into tiny, dissociated and often forgotten 
slivers. Modern man lives in a perpetual state of 
stupor, and is made to suppress these multifarious 
aspects of his personality, made to not recognise, or 
to ignore his deepest desires, so that he may become 
totally immersed in the stagnant, counterfeitist 
reality of Control. 

He is helpless, like a lone wolf stuck in a 'starlit 
mire'. Separated from the pack that does not even 
hear his howls for freedom, and if it did, would not 
even recognise his association with them - so 
covered as he is in mud. 

That incomplete 'pack' of emotions and 
personalities - the individual human - runs on. It 
knows that there is something wrong, something 


missing, but it doesn't even know where to look. It 
convinces itself that it is quite content to go on as it 
is, and even if it stumbled across its long lost 
members, it would probably tear them to pieces in 
its ignorance. 

The individual human, like a pack of Pavlovian 
dogs, has been programmed into such ignorance. 
Ignorance is convenience. 

The sham illusion of 'freedom' is dangled before 
him in the form of material comfort and narrowly- 
defined political choice. Thus drugged, duped and 
divided, he is robbed of direction and self-respect. 
Shambling through life in a blur of trivia, he spends 
his life waiting for 'something' to happen. When and 
if he has the courage to ask 'Is this it?' he is told that 
he will be alright if he keeps the faith. If he 
continues producing and consuming. If he feigns 
'normality' on the outside and does what's expected 
of him by the Church, by governments, by cartels. If 
he remains stupid, and even proud of his stupidity 
(his video-watching, car-driving 'normality'), clings to 
his set of beliefs, whatever they may be (they are, 
after all, interchangeable), and keeps his mouth shut, 
he'll be rewarded with... Life after Death! 

Thus he will be robbed of fully experiencing his 
own life. Of realising his potential, even the 
potential of his own mind. The passion of the 
Temple is founded upon this great sadness. The 
sadness of the 1980s. 

There is, though, a hint of optimism here. Just as 
geographically, racially and politically mankind is 
falsely divided and compartmentalised, split up into 
more easily administered nation states on Earth, the 
individual man or woman is shattered and divided 
from the inside. The concept of 'divide and rule' is 
scaled down to horrifyingly personal proportions. In 
the perception of the Temple, ritual (or, if you like, 
private performance art) is a way in which the 
demolished man and woman can be healed. It can 


34 • RAPID EYE 1 


be used to promote internalisation, a search for and 
acceptance of the missing members of the pack. To 
re-integrate the many aspects of the personality that 
have been fragmented and ignored and achieve 
through this a healthy balance again. To incorporate 
into life those aspects of human character that 
society has trained the individual into perceiving as 
being (socially) worthless, (self-) indulgent, or 
unpleasant. Once these various areas are accepted 
they are better understood, and then you have the 
first step in the destruction of Control. You have a 
whole human being again with the self reliance of 
the 'full pack.' You have the inquisitive, pre¬ 
programmed purity of a baby. 

"From a child of five to an adult is a short step. 

From a new-born baby to a child of five is an 
appalling distance." 

—Tolstoy 

Ritual is an activity that a brief study of human 
history would seem to show that we need. It is also 
an activity that has been generally ignored or denied 
in Western culture (except in the most ineffectual 
forms offered by the modern church). By 
investigating what appears to be one of the weak 
points in the armour of Control, the Temple feels it 
has touched a nerve. By reclaiming ritual and 
developing its efficient personalised use, the process 
of shattering indoctrination that takes place is 
reversed. One becomes cognizant of one's real 
needs, and, able to confront and embrace these 
needs and desires, commit that most heinous of 
crimes in this group- orientated society - cherish 
oneself. 

People in this position are more likely to be 
healthy, well balanced individuals. They do not 
commit suicide. They don't go out and attack people 
on the street. They don't fight wars on behalf of 
politicians. They are less inclined to become addicted 
to false outside stimulation (be it from drugs or TV) 
for their well being. 

"Once you have re-integration and you have an 
effective whole individual again you can then have 
evolution, and that evolution I suggest needs to be 
neurological. If people see things intelligently and 
are more aware and thoughtful and using more of 
their brains, then stupid action will become more 
obviously stupid and therefore laughably irrelevant. 
The only way to get rid of stupidity is to make it 
LOOK stupid to the individual, so that nobody would 
indulge in it. And I think that forms of ritual and 
what is commonly termed 'magick' are an essential 
part of that re-integration and that's why they were 
quite deliberately amputated from man’s experience 
during the middle ages, in order to facilitate the 
growth of power through various kinds of 
conditioning and suppression ." 

So in Temple philosophy, ritual helps the Initiate 
to commune not with spirits, but with The Spirit. In 
helping concentration, clearing space for 
internalisation, it enables the brain to function in a 


way that, quite simply, it doesn't normally have the 
opportunity to in the logical life of everyday 
existence. The real purpose of ritual, the common 
denominator of all ritual from Christian communion 
to dervish dances and spiritualist meetings, is to lead 
you through the subconscious levels of the mind and 
into the areas of the brain where the unconscious 
dwells, darkly. Here you may stumble across angels 
and devils within yourself that have been hidden 
from you by Control. 

The most simple form of ritual is a process of 
Sigilisation, whereby a wish is concentrated in 
symbolic form, and brought to bear on the mind 
when it achieves the required altered state - when 
it has been pushed into the quaquaversal mode and 
is able to transmit energies that can have an effect 
on both the physical and mental planes. Purely 
physical science does not (yet) allow for such things 
to be possible. Which is why the quite common 
phenomena of telepathy and precognition are 
written off as being 'coincidence', and why there is 
as yet no plausible physical explanation for such 
things as poltergeist activity, other than accusations 
of hoax. In the Magickal Perception of P-Orridge, 
such things are considered perfectly normal, 
unthreatening effects of transactions between the 
unconscious of the individual and the shared 
unconscious of the earth. 

Ritual not only sends tremors through this 
unconscious, but, while doing so, teaches the Initiate 
that there may be more to life and death than meets 
the eye. 

"Ritual helps you understand and perceive the 
invisible language of reality. The inarticulate, non 
verbal language of reality and relationships between 
cause and effect and emotion and action and 
behaviour and so on. The nitty gritty of the 
Cosmos!" 

Ritual is really just a system of tricks which enable 
you to by-pass the cursors of the solely physical 
perception of reality (logic based on chemistry, 
physics, English, maths and biology class), and see 
the world from a quite different perspective - and 
new perspectives give birth to new ideas. The 
Temple's hackers report their individual systems and 
findings to TOPY H.Q, their research being kept 
under lock and key and made available only to other 
practising Initiates through newsletters and 
meetings, and in more general form in the public 
activities of PTV and P-Orridge. Each sigiliser's 
identity is protected from the outside world through 
the designation of code names and numbers. 'Eden' 
for boys and 'Kali' (the Indian goddess of sex and 
death) for girls. 

The ritual techniques and sigils recorded at the 
Temple database are as varied as the Initiates 
themselves and have grown less familiar and more 
abstract, personal and effective as time wears on 
from the Temple's founding in 1981. 

P-Orridge's personal rituals, for example, are a 
natural result of his own history, informed as much 
by his love of Gysin or Dali as his interest in Crowley 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 35 



A visual Sigil 


and the laws of Thelema. An extension of his in another context, Ritual. 

performance art exploits in COUM, Trans Media and "It was really psychotherapy rather than Art. In a 

beyond. He readily admits to the fact that what sense rituals are a private version of what I always 
people often confused with as being Art was, if seen did. In fact you could say that after doing art 



36 • RAPID EYE 1 


performances I noticed certain effects and 
phenomena that I decided to investigate privately 
and more intensely in a controlled environment. So 
there was no question of there being Entertainment 
involved." 

The most effective rituals, and usually the most 
interesting and informative, are those that teach the 
Initiate certain practical boundaries, both physical 
and mental. It would serve no useful purpose here to 
try and go into detail about the more esoteric rituals 
employed by the Temple. In any case, each ritual is 
different, suited to the needs of the individual(s) 
taking part. Here though is an example of the never- 
before published ritualization of the Lone Wolf. An 
experiment into a more formalised, less sexual ritual, 
it has almost monastic qualities. 

As his wife Paula and the psychic imps were taking 
a break in Brighton for five days, Gen decided to 
make the most of the unusual silence, space, and 
aloneness of the empty house. “Each day I started at 
eleven [23.00 hrs.] and I couldn't go to bed until I’d 
incorporated a certain number of set things into the 
ritual. I had to do a drawing based on a particular 
photograph taken of Paula during another more 
esoteric sexual ritual. I had to write for a period, 
copying down anything that came into my head, and 
cut one letter of her name each day in my chest with 
a scalpel. I also had to drink from a special silver 
goblet [shaped like a wolf's head] which was full of 
my own urine, and read a section of an Austin Spare 
book and try to understand it, and do a sigil 
involving masturbation as well, all while listening to 
Scriabin's ‘Poem of Fire’ very loud on the stereo. I 
also had the television on with no sound and all the 
static snow drifting across the screen with the colour 
turned full up, and also have my one-pound steel 
weight through my prick ." 

All the elements of this particular ritual, chosen 
more or less at random from a variety of associated 
interests, serve to symbolise certain areas of his life 
and reflect his lifestyle, and will strike chords in the 
minds of many of his fellow Initiates. 

"At first I was very conscious and aware of what I 
was doing and it seemed very laborious, and I kept 
wanting to give up the drawing and not to do the 
shading in properly and so on. But by the fifth day 
I was writing without thought and the time was 
going very very fast instead of dragging. And during 
the day when I went about my normal business I 
became hyperactive and effective. By the end of the 
five days I was in a completely different state 
mentally and physically than when I’d started. I was 
very alert, perceptive, and just didn’t get tired. 
Looking back at the writing I’d done during the 
ritual there was loads of stuff I didn't even 
remember writing at all. A lot of it is really 
interesting and challenging and quite impressive. 
And I'd done diagrams that I didn’t really see the 
meaning of - little boxes and key words and 
relationships between key words and observations 
about personality and emotion and so on." 

Besides such abstract forms of experimentation. 


P-Orridge also practises straightforward Sex Magick 
- and is as open about his interests as he is any other 
subject. 

Incapable of dealing with honesty, particularly 
when sex is involved, the usual reaction of the 
cynical British Media to this is to make several 
assumptions based on their weak grasp of such 
knowledge; that Gen is 'obviously' concerned only 
with manufacturing a weird sexy pop star image; 
that Sex Magick is 'obviously' merely used as an 
excuse for physical gratification; that anyone 
involved with the Temple is 'obviously' sexually 
promiscuous - just not honest enough to admit it. 

Funny how people become either coy or abusive 
whenever sex rears its head, isn't it? Strange too, 
how people are so ready to apply their own sexual 
hang-ups and code of morals to the actions of 
others, as if they, considering themselves 'normal', 
were somehow the arbiters of everyone's sexual 
preferences and morality. It's always been easier to 
snigger - in the tinkling of a typewriter the 
presentation and apparent validity of any body of 
ideas as potentially threatening as those being 
transmitted from the Temple can be reduced to 
inconsequential rubble. The writer simply has to 
appeal to the tribal instinct that, for protectionist 
reasons, sees anyone 'different' from the group as 
being a threat, and the tribal instinct is largely born 
out of Control. 

As the most public figure within the Temple, 
P-Orridge also finds himself caught up in a crossfire 
between a whole bunch of ideological imbeciles he 
cares not a jot for anyway. Macho men who are 
obsessed with the activity of sex (fucking); copybook 
'feminists'who are obsessed only with gender; media 
people hellbent on sensationalising and disparaging 
anything to do with (ulp) 'Sex' from their usual 
platform of mock indignation (to sell papers). They 
confuse sex with sexuality; ritual with sexual 
promiscuity. Such people would no doubt be 
surprised, and not a little disappointed to hear 
P-Orridge talking about such things as sexual 
equality. Or learning that even within the Temple a 
person of course could, if they wished, explore their 
own sexuality without actually having sex with 
anyone (using solely autosexual techniques in ritual, 
for example). Though, as the learning process is 
always better if studies are shared and enjoyed, it'd 
be surprising for anyone to do so. 

There is (unfortunately) a general type of person 
that usually becomes involved in the Temple, though 
that is hardly down to P-Orridge. People criticising 
such apparent anomalies of the Temple, or its 
activities, easily forget that as there are no strict 
formulae here, a person could share in its 
experiences without necessarily agreeing with other 
Initiates' methods, morals or lifestyles. Sex, though, 
is still an important aspect of the Temple. 

"Because sex is one of the most primal motivations 
of human beings. I think that people are more 
animal than they believe they are and that there is 
a hormonal, metabolic, deeply engrained sexual urge 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 37 


that motivates us and that one has to confront and 
understand. And if people can't confront and 
understand something as basic and physical as that 
then they might as well give up on things that are 
more abstract really. And sex is used as a weapon to 
generate guilt and fear for Control. I think in mental 
terms it's of more importance than any battlefield on 
the planet. We have urges for a variety of things 
that have been suppressed. Ritual is also one of 
those things. A need to mark one’s passage through 
life on oneself physically and mentally. The signs for 
something as simple as that are always there - from 
tattoos and pierced ears and different hairstyles to 
certain types of ceremony. Like marriage, birth, 
christening, football matches or whatever. I think the 
people who refuse to even recognise that need and 
dismiss it are the dangerous ones. Usually people like 
burn-again Christians and rightwing politicians and 
so on. The type of people who're convinced that 
they're right and tell other people how to live and 
think. I just prefer to recognise things and embrace 
them and see what they are and why they are. And 
I do think that the suppression of ritual and sexuality 
is why in our society there is a lot of mental illness. 
Some of it diagnosed and the vast majority of it 
walking around the streets! In other societies, where 
ritual is embraced as a natural function they don't 
even have a word for mental illness, it’s just about 
unknown in many 'primitive' tribal societies. 
Neuroses are exorcised through ritual, there is always 
a point given to focus on. Even if it's not a regular 
everyday thing, there are always ritual points in their 
lifespan that are utilised to focus on completely 
different to everyday normal life. And that’s very 
uncommon in our society." 

What about birth and death? 

"Well, even childbirth is emasculated as a 
sensation and as an experience and as a ritual. The 
medical profession tried to steal childbirth away 
from women. (Gen and Paula's two children were 
both delivered at home). Even death is considered 
something to be swept away and not talked about. 
Even fucking! All the things we can’t avoid. We all 
fuck, we're born and we die. Even these three most 
basic focuses and rituals and experiences are screwed 
up and twisted and suppressed by our society. So it's 
no wonder we're all completely confused." 

Add to this the fact that even the most subservient 
people are now becoming disenchanted with the 
structure of society. That society's authorities can no 
longer be trusted as they are consistently being 
discredited, and being proven to be (often quite 
openly) dishonest, uncaring and incompetent - 
which means, in the equation made by the Temple, 
that a very dangerous and unstable situation has 
arisen. Millions of directionless, dissatisfied people 
generating all that unfocused energy equals = Bad 
Magic. The symptoms of which are manifested in 
street crime, heroin addiction, sex murders, 
alcoholism, hypochondria and practically every other 
social malady you care to mention. People just have 
no self-discipline or respect for themselves. No clear 


direction. They do not even have any structure to 
work around anymore. 

That explains why the structure of Christianity is so 
newly attractive to so many people. A structure in 
which people benefit from ritual focal points and a 
sense of direction. The direction, though, seems all 
too often to be towards death - Christianity in 
practice generally being a structure based on 
hedging one's bets for an afterlife, rather than 
fostering a genuine wish to live with people better 
in this. 

The Temple confines itself to what it knows, to life 
rather than death. It does not presume to issue 
'commandments' or give the impression that it is 
qualified to do so, representing as it does nothing 
other than a few ideas. Rather, it simply tries to 
encourage an active, positive life, assuming that 
people are quite able when freed from conditioned 
guilt to make up their own minds about how to live 
(is it better to help someone because you want to 
help them, or because you want to protect your own 
interests and avoid being sent to 'Hell'?). In 
observing the lure of the shared trappings of all 
religions, it is interested in the non-aligned, 
undogmatic investigation into what exactly is going 
on. Minus the bullshit of organised religion, the 
rhetoric of party politics, or the promises of 
'occultism' that only serve to pervert that 
understanding and thus strengthen the foundations 
of Control. 

Sex and sexuality lie at the roots of Control. 
Conditioning is most apparent, and crippling, in this 
area of our lives - illustrated for example in limiting 
sexual stereotyping and feelings of alienation, and 
the mass of hang-ups that pervade what Freud 
claimed to be this central area of human life. Gen 
argues then that it's only natural to try and tackle 
this universally applicable area first, and develop 
awareness from there. 

There is, though, more than a tactical angle in the 
incorporation of Sex Magick rituals than that - as 
they are also an excellent method of illustrating the 
capabilities of the mind when unified by ritual. 

The Occult Establishment, in the form of the 
German Theodore Reuss, for a time ostracised 
Crowley for making the 'secrets' of Sex Magick more 
available to non-initiates in books like LIBER 
CCCXXXIII The Book Of Lies (in which he wrote 
about the 'Magick Rood' and 'Mystic Rose'), before 
Crowley's revolutionary ideas, widely disseminated 
through his theatricism, gained more acceptance - 
resulting in Crowley heading the Argentum Astram 
and eventually becoming World Leader of the OTO 
on the German's retirement through illness. 

Through the works of Havelock Ellis, mason Karl 
Kellner, Crowley and numerous others, such 'secrets' 
are nowadays common knowledge (if not often 
understood) amongst even the most dilettante 
students of the occult. 

To over-simplify, the basic premise of Sex Magick 
is that when the individual achieves orgasm, he or 
she is able, albeit briefly, to gain access to and some 




38 • RAPID EYE 1 


control over the hidden, dream-ridden world of the 
unconscious. There the 'True Will' is discovered and 
focused, the latent powers of this 'unseen' mind 
being used to alter physical reality. If a desire is first 
encapsulated (during a preparatory ritual), then 
visualised at the moment of orgasm (usually in the 
form of a symbolic glyph), the chances are that the 
desire will be achieved, in one way or another. 

People bound up in the purely physical perception 
of life, and the traditional sciences used to explain it, 
must dismiss such notions out of hand. They will 
perhaps say, sneeringly, that such notions are 
'magic'. They will of course be right. As with any 
theory though, several quite logical sounding 
arguments can be concocted to support such claims 
and make them more appealing on an intellectual 
level. One such argument could be based around the 
theory that prevails throughout Rapid Eye in various 
forms. 

That is, that the language of the two brain 
hemispheres is frequently of transmitted impulse, 
and that by artificially tampering with the keys of 
those frequencies (be it through ritual or exposure to 
'psychotronic' sounds, strobes, etc.) the two sides of 
the brain can be fooled into acting in unison. The 
right brain, that deals with dreams, 'intuition', 
creative endeavour and non-logical thinking, and is 
thought to house the unconscious entity - that 
which produces poltergeists and demons - is 
combined with the logical, practical hemisphere of 
the left brain, where the ego resides (the left brain 
is what we'd think of as being 'us'). Altered states of 
consciousness result. Anyone who has taken LSD, or 
been stupid enough to experiment with PCP, would 
agree that there are various levels of consciousness, 
and that the brain, and body, are capable of things 
far greater than we once may have thought. 

By learning the most effective methods of 
tampering with the brain we can more efficiently 
produce the required states and find out exactly 
what the attainment of these states can achieve. 

This particular assumption has been made for the 
purposes of this article, based on the work of Spare 
and P-Orridge and the most cursory reading of a few 
neurological facts. If people with a greater store of 
information in the areas of neurology, psychology 
etc. wanted to find a more convincing argument 
then they could no doubt do so. For the purposes of 
self-discovery and practical results, however, as 
P-Orridge says, "Who cares as long as it works?" That 
it does work is only doubted by those who haven't 
tried it, or approached it in too cynical, clinical, or 
careless a manner. The Temple is more interested in 
making such avenues of experimentation known 
than trying to convince people of the theories or 
results. 

If such capabilities are inherent in Sex, it would 
certainly be in the interests of Control to suppress 
such information and activity. Genesis would say that 
this explains why 'Sex', more than any other area of 
usually private human activity, is subjected to 
extraordinary levels of outside interests and 


interference from the unwitting agents of Control - 
be they police or priests. 

Whatever anyone's opinion, it's undoubtedly true 
that while experiencing orgasm the individual 
experiences a sensation of freedom that renders any 
system of Control totally meaningless. In this case at 
least, sex is a liberator. 

P-Orridge does not doubt the validity of Sex 
Magick at all, and given that medical science is 
constantly being revised and currently can only 
account for the activity of about one third of the 
brain's total physical mass, any explanations and 
explorations should be possible. From the 
traditionalist mummery to the more oriented, if 
equally woolly and vague beliefs of New Science. 
Gen being convinced that everyone is emitting their 
psychic transmissions all the time, he feels that there 
should be someone looking for ways in which to 
channel that energy. Sex Magick, for him, is the best 
avenue of exploration as it provides the skeleton key 
to the Doors of Perception, unlocking hidden areas 
of human potential. That assumption is his only 
belief and practically everything he does stems from 
the fact. 

"It all depends on how much credence you give 
the subconscious to operate in positive ways on its 
own, almost. I do think over the years as I've gone 
along I've found more and more evidence to support 
the theory that people's brains send out these 
various frequencies, signals, and that through these 
there is some linkage in the mass unconscious. Which 
would explain, for instance, how you get apparent 
phenomena of messages from the dead and so on. 
So in fact all you're doing is tapping the residual 
pool of the unconscious thought all over the planet, 
and a lot of people aren’t aware of that so they're 
thrashing about and being irritating and unhappy 
because they're tapping useless thoughts from it 
uncontrollably." 

The study of Magick is the study of psychic 
radionics - how to control the transmissions and 
improve the reception. Sex Magick is a way of 
putting more power into the aerials - the brass, 
wood, paper, glass Psychic Crosses that hang on 
hundreds of walls from Tokyo to Toxteth, charged 
with the resolutions of the Temple. An organisation 
attempting to understand the mechanics of tapping 
into and tampering with the 'pool'. 

Working on Gen's prompt - "If you really, really 
want something to happen so pure at the moment 
of orgasm you get a completely pure desire, for a 
fraction of a second there is no distraction or 
dilution of that desire, the chances of it happening 
are greatly increased" - Initiates have come up with 
varying experiments and reported some unusual 
results. 

Here is one example of autoritualisation from the 
Temple Archives, submitted by an Eden: 

"I find it vital to perform a sigil in a way that 
separates it from everyday activities. The setting is 
always a darkened room, in the evening - usually 


GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 39 



about eleven. I rearrange the room taking out all the 
objects I feel to be superfluous. This leaves the room 
stripped except for the bed and the tools I've 
selected for the occasion. There are several objects I 
always use - chosen by intuition. Finding a set of 
tools that you can use especially for the Sigil is 
essential in promoting a magickal reflex. By this I 
mean a set of conditions, objects and actions that 
work on the subconscious as shortcuts to the special, 
elusive state of mind needed. I don't like to use 
these objects for anything other than the rituals. 

"The objects I use are as follows: a knife, which I 
know has a potent history, a silver bell with a 
goat's-foot handle which I bought under unusual 
circumstances, candles and a razor. Before I begin I 
arrange these objects around me. I find it very useful 
to take some kind of drug, sometimes just alcohol, 
not for recreation but as an aid to changing the 
atmosphere, the consciousness, to stepping through 
a door to a special frame of mind. Always I keep at 
the back of my mind the aim and purpose of the 
ritual, slowly saturating my mind with the task 
before me. As I begin, I play Tibetan music because 
of its personal associations, and because it is 
intended for ritual use. I begin to masturbate, 
simultaneously using mental images of my own 
fetishes and playing with the focus of the ritual, 
swapping and overlapping the ideas with each other. 
The exact mental processes that go on are extremely 
hard to describe. I find my actions and emotions 
going on at once, all spiralling upwards, focusing on 
the orgasm itself. I simultaneously concentrate on 
both the situation I'm in and also the internal and 
intuitive processes I'm trying to arouse and initiate 
within myself. One knows when the spark of truth is 
struck. The outside is inside and vice-versa. Both are 
fused and concentrated - focusing on the one aim of 


the ritual. The orgasm is the key to the whole 
process, the seal of the unconscious. 

“Once the orgasm has passed, I prepare a physical 
Sigil. I write and draw on a piece of paper what I 
feel - sometimes unassociated scrawls and symbols, 
then I add spit and ov (semenal fluid). I use the razor 
to draw blood, painting symbols and marks with it, 
as occur to me at the time. I place the paper in a 
prominent position in the room, so I am constantly 
reminded of the aim of the Sigil. For me there is a 
huge difference between an orgasm during a Sigil 
and one achieved by normal erotic action or fantasy. 
Every Sigil I have conscientiously prepared has 
gained results; sometimes almost frightening in their 
efficiency and effect. 

"For example, once I wanted to meet a boy I’d 
seen in a magazine and I performed a Sigil to do so, 
and a few days later decided to go to a pub I hadn't 
been to for some time, just as a change of scene. As 
I walked in I saw the boy across the room. Almost 
immediately he came up to me and said he had the 
feeling that he knew me or that he'd seen me 
somewhere before, which he certainly hadn't. We 
got talking and later had sex." 

The leading innovator of such forms of 
'Sigilisation' - Austin Spare - described the system 
with some more lucidity, adding the vital point that, 
as far as possible, the desire must be lodged in the 
subconscious without the conscious mind being 
involved or aware. 

"My formula and Sigils for subconscious activity are 
a means of inspiration, capacity or genius, and a 
means of accelerating evolution. An economy of 
energy and a method of learning by enjoyment. 

"For the construction of Sigils the ordinary 



40 • RAPID EYE 1 


alphabet is used. (For example) the desire for 
super-human strength could be formulated as 
follows: 7 desire the strength of my tigers'. In order 
to Sigilise this desire, put down on a piece of paper 
all the letters of which the sentence is composed, 
omitting all repetitions. The resulting sequence of 
letters, 'IDESRTHNGOFMY' is then combined and 
incorporated into your Sigil ." (This sequence of 
letters and/or symbols is called a 'glyph'.) 

“The wish, thus Sigilised, must then be forgotten; 
that is to say, the conscious mind must desist from 
thinking about it at any time other than the 
magickal time, for the belief becomes true and vital 
by striving against it in the consciousness and by 
giving it (Sigil) form. Not by the striving of Faith. 

“By virtue of the Sigil you are able to send your 
desires into the subconscious (the place where all 
dreams meet). All desire, whether for pleasure or 
knowledge that cannot find natural expression, can 
by Sigils and their formulae find fulfilment via the 
subconscious. 

“The energizing of such a Sigil must occur at a 
special time. At the moment of orgasm the wish 
must be imperatively formulated. It is not in the 
actual Sigil that the power resides (this is merely the 
vehicle of the desire) but the intent with which it is 
despatched at the moment of exhaustion. Any glyph, 
personal or traditional, may be used as a Sigil. If 
personal, it must be the specific vehicle of the desire, 
and designed for no other purpose; if traditional, it 
must have received a new direction which thereby 
consecrates it to its secret purpose. Powers of 
visualisation, self-discipline and concentration are the 
qualities necessary. " 

Austin Osman Spare is, along with Crowley, the 
major figure behind the 'occult' philosophy of the 
Temple. Not only an extraordinary occultist. Spare 
was also a brilliant artist. Having left school at 13 he 
was given a scholarship to the R.C.A. on the strength 
of his illustrations and his treatise on Solid Geometry, 
for which he had won the National Gold Medal. 

His father a London policeman and his mother a 
devout Christian, Spare developed a dislike for 
convention and developed a relationship with an old 
woman who was a witch, Mrs Patterson, who taught 
him many aspects of her craft. When he was still only 
17 he published his first book Earth Inferno, a short 
aphoristic text lavishly illustrated with his occult- 
influenced surrealist drawings. On publication of this 
critics compared Spare to Durer, and John Singer 
Sargent described the young East Ender as a genius. 
Around 1910 he joined Crowley's Argentum Astram. 
He served in Egypt during the First World War where 
he was impressed by the pyramids and the carved 
hieroglyphics of Egyptian occult art. Inspired by 
these, he went on to develop his own theory of 
Sigils, which was a system of ritual symbolism 
creating glyphs which aimed to express the human 
will in a secret, concentrated form. The process of 
sigilisation involved him expressing a desire to his 
subconscious in symbolic form while in a state of 


trance (which he called "the death posture"), or 
ecstasy (usually sexual). A believer in reincarnation, 
he also felt that during this state he could regress 
and rediscover all his previous personalities - which 
he presented in his work in the form of half-man 
half-animal beasts - and finally be able to trace "the 
Primal Cause of all", which had been lost by 
Mankind through the passage of time. This "atavistic 
resurgence" and the ultimate discovery it revealed 
was called 'Kia' - the true Being of Man. 

Undoubtedly one of England's finest illustrators. 
Spare's best work is to be found in the book he 
published when he was 22 years old, something of a 
bible for Temple Initiates, The Book Of Pleasure (Self 
Love): The Philosophy Of Ecstasy (1913), which he 
illustrated with automatic drawings, though his work 
also appears in another P-Orridge favourite, F. 
Russel/J. Bertrams' The Starlit Mire (1911). Spare was 
someone whom Trans Media may have called a 
"quaquavine" - being born at midnight on the 31st 
December 1888, or the 1st January 1889, this event 
giving Spare what he called his 'Janus Complex', 
named after the Roman deity who looks backwards 
and forwards simultaneously. His later years were 
spent, like Crowley, as a recluse in a dilapidated 
house. He died in Brixton in 1956. 

Spare's rituals were not entirely done alone. He 
used a string of mistresses, prostitutes and, he claims, 
succubi for his ritual work. The Temple, too, does 
not rely solely on autosexual techniques. 

Much has been made of the supposed orgiastic 
goings-on within the Temple (particularly by people 
feigning disgust while all the time wishing that they 
were invited to such activities). 

Far be it from me to destroy anyone's fantasies, 
but in truth such activities are rare, though they do 
happen, normally among small groups of friends and 
lovers rather than between total strangers flung 
together in some moonlit meeting of a coven. 

'Sex Magick rituals' performed by more than one 
person in the Temple often take place in an area 
that is as free from the pervading aura of Control as 
possible. Somewhere free from the trappings and 
proprieties of starchy social convention, a place 
where the ego and false identity is shed and the 
Initiate is more able to revert to a time of 
pre-conditioning. The Nursery. 

“Without is without 
In the Nursery 
Darkness is not dark 
In the Nursery 
There is no fear 
In the Nursery 
The bear is there 
In the Nursery" 

—In the Nursery, PTV 1983 

The Nursery is an attempt to create an 
environment without any rules that relate to the 
outside world. Unlike in Passolini's Salo, the nursery 
is not only a microcosm, but also a vacuum - there 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 41 



are NO rules here at all. The Nursery is a functional 
artistic installation. A theatrical stage set in which 
Edward Kienholz meets Lucrezia Borgia. 

The Nursery is situated at an address in an 
anonymous East End sidestreet behind heavily bolted 
doors and a video security system. The walls of the 
room are blood red. The black floor is clear of 
obstructions, except for a coffin that lies along one 
wall and the menacing hulk of an old leather dentist 
chair (which once played a part in a case of a dentist 
tried for the molestation of drugged patients) that 
dominates the room. Peacock feathers, ropes, 
dildoes, chains, mirrors, human skulls, gnarled wood, 
candles, carvings... dozens of articles line the walls. 
To be improvised with during ritual by adults much 
as the same way in which children may experiment 
with a box of old clothes in a playroom. 

Sexual acts that may take place in the Nursery are 
not seen as being 'Sex' by participants. People 
separated from the embarrassment and fear of the 
outside world tend to indulge in activities that 
perhaps they would not normally. The sense of 
vulnerability engendered in such a highly- charged 
disorientating place serves to strengthen the Temple, 
creating a bond of trust - the ritual providing 
participants with a mutual intent. All physical and 
mental energies are joined and devoted to the ritual, 
and the liberation and channelling of psychic energy 
through the ritual abandonment of all aspects of 
Control, amid sweaty Bundeswehr vests and ecstasy. 

As the Temple masters Sex Magick and compiles its 
research, other systems not involving orgasm have 
naturally developed. The idea is that once 
'wholeness' is hopefully achieved, the vital ELEMENTS 


of ritual that trigger the necessary altered states are 
learnt, the goal being to be able to 'switch on' and 
use such abilities automatically in everyday life. At a 
bus queue, on a train, lying in bed at night. 

So, the assumptions made by the popular media 
would seem to be false - symptoms of the state of 
Control, inadvertently used to diffuse interest and 
divert attention away from suspect areas by making 
them appear futile, perverted, trendy or laughable. 
It is, though, just these areas that should, due to 
their tenderness, be investigated most rigorously. 
The rigours of the Temple, the ritual pop horrors and 
sex shocks are, in this light, just a means to an end. 
The end being this automatic ability. Evolution, no 
less. 

Although Gen undoubtedly harbours a desire to 
be more famous, and PTV would quite like a stream 
of Number One records and to be disgustingly rich, 
it is primarily towards this evolutionary step which 
this psychic conglomerate strives - a slightly more 
interesting and important goal than getting your 
best profile on the cover of The Face - though it all 
depends on your priorities. Members of many groups 
obviously only want to be rich and famous and get 
models at cocktail parties to go to bed with them. 
Fair enough. 

Genesis' priorities are patent. They stand drenched 
in his own blood, semen and urine. For all to see, 
and attack. For every group of detractors, though, 
there appears a convert. So when the jolly, trendy 
'Biff' in the Guardian, or John Walters on Radio One, 
or Derek Jameson on Thames TV attack the Temple, 
an ally pops up in the form of a Sandy Robertson, a 
Paul Morley, or (as is often the case - surprisingly). 





42 • RAPID EYE 1 


an Auberon Waugh (who said that P-Orridge was 
"one of the most lucid modern philosophers of the 
decade"). 

The imposition of will - be it the will of Thatcher, 
Stalin or P-Orridge - is quite clearly unjust to most 
level-headed people. The Temple is based on 
voluntary commitment. Total commitment. Not 
obedience. Despite the bombardment of the critics, 
volunteers are numerous. 

The Temple is legion. It spreads like an unchecked 
disease throughout the disillusioned, existentialist 
rollnecks that blacken the reading rooms of the 
British Museum; it forms cells of MACE spraying. 
Ecstasy-taking 'Terror Guard' post-industrialist punks 
in sleazy squats; it settles onto the very fabric of 
White Western Culture (the T-shirts of TV producers 
and lapel badges of film directors often bear the 
tell-tale tripach cross). 

As the '90s stretch before us, the Temple becomes 
more snappy and organised. A small but dedicated 
staff now run Temple Records from a neat office 
complete with buzzing computer, Xerox and FAX 
machines, serving the dual purpose of selling records 
and keeping the Temple informed. TOPY now has 
branches in the U.S.A. and 'Access Points' dotted 
throughout Europe, many of which produce their 
own Newsletters and Broadsheets independent of 
London and fund their activities with events, 
distribution of PTV product, and through the 
promotion of local gigs and discos. 

As was planned by its founder, the Temple has 
taken on a life of its own, sprouting and inspiring 
numerous bands, artists, publications and events. 
People take from their association with the Temple 
whatever they like. Gen must take most of the credit 
for the phenomenon on his own narrow shoulders. 
Or, as his ideas and observations may be totally 
wrong, most of the blame. 

As twilight turns into night, though, the theories 
behind a worldwide network of neophytes seem 
distant as Genesis finishes off a plate of his famous 
spaghetti bolognese, sips his tea, and moans about 
the chattering face of Noel Edmonds on TV. The grey 
glow of the cathode ray is turned off with the tap of 
a remote control consul, allowing the Moon to shine 
into the P-Orridge living room, reflecting in the dark 
dead glass of the screen. The huge stuffed wolf's 
head that hangs above him casts a ghostly shadow 
across the wall, that glints with three ceramic Hitlers 
- winging their way above the fireplace like Hilda 
Ogden's ducks. One's eyes drift across the room like 
a camera, focusing on objects. A box of piercing and 
tattooing magazines, a large glass tank housing a 
large friendly boa constrictor snake, 'Bella', and 
'Moonchild' the family cat sitting - now stuffed - on 
the hearth. Shelves sag with books, occultism, art, 
psychology, drugs, cinema, and with videos. Anger 
and Jarman, Warhol and Bunuel, and a display of 
green bakelite art deco objects. And above the door, 
a pink perspex arrow with the number '23' at its 
centre, points the way out. 

Twenty-three is the obsessional number of the 


Temple, appearing in its texts, records and 
memorabilia. It is suggested that sigils start at 23.00 
hrs, major T.O.P.Y. rituals and events are held on the 
23rd of the month, and so on. 

The digits litter the work of Burroughs and Gysin 
(stemming from the Captain Clarke enigma), and 
figure heavily in Joyce's diaries. 23 is the number of 
the llluminatus - the omnipotent, omnipresent secret 
order of masons founded by Dr Adam Weishaupt in 
Bavaria in 1776 and now said to invisibly rule the 
world. (There is tenuous evidence to suggest that 
they were responsible for both the Russian and 
American revolutions, even though they were 
banned in the 19th Century after being discovered in 
the throes of a plot to overthrow the Pope and all 
the monarchies of Europe.) 23 is connected in many 
texts with Sirius, which itself has heavy links with 
Egyptian and African magical mythology, and with 
Crowley's '93 Current'. 23 is a useful prime number, 
is incorporated into the name of a Temple-related 
band, and is a recurring figure in the cabbala. The 
number also features repeatedly in Koestler's works 
on coincidence. "23 Skidoo!" was the coded wolf 
whistle of New York vagrants on seeing an expanse 
of stocking-top during the Depression...and so it 
goes on. 

In Temple usage it is largely incorporated as a code 
of recognition and association, a sign of good luck 
that brings a knowing smirk rather than a 
numerologist's jolt. Twenty-three is a leak through 
everyday normality, through which to get out and 
crawl into another world - like through one of Herr 
Vonnegut's mirrors. 

As with all Temple mythology, the significance of 
the number should not be taken too literally, or 
seriously. Rather, it should be used as a trigger to set 
off one's own imagination, a seed for one's own 
mythology. Funny that 23 is also the American 
actors' slang for "Exit", given what Crowley wrote in 
1913, a typically quirky poem under the title of 
Keoa/I KT (Twenty three): 

"...thou canst not get out by the way thou 

earnest in. The way out is THE WAY 

Get out. For OUT is Love and Wisdom and Power 

Get OUT 

If thou hast T already, first get UT 

Then get O 

And so, at last, get OUT." 

Interpreted as meaning that, first one leaves the 
life of materialism, then the physical confinement of 
the world at large and, lastly, even one's fellow 
Initiates. Life is, essentially, a solo voyage, and 
nobody can tell you how to get through it other 
than yourself. 

Following the pink 23, your reporter staggers out 
onto the moonlit street and commences his voyage 
courtesy of the Number 23 bus (honest), leaving 
Genesis and Paula to put their children to bed. 

The purpose of including the Temple Ov Psychic 



GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 43 



Youth and their public manifestations in this form 
has been only to provide information, and hopefully 
a degree of insight - however biased I may be in its 
presentation. The only motivation one has for 
criticising the work of other people is to review and 
preview, or to promote the idea that one is 
somehow better informed than they are, or to help 
bring about their perdition - as pointless as a 
journalist interviewing someone for an hour then 
giving character references (as if they mattered). We 
leave the smart-arsed sensational journalese to 
people who think they need to prove that they are 
clever. We are confident that you are clever enough 
to gain your own impressions from the information 
you put at your disposal. 

As that information will keep changing as long as 
P-Orridge and the Temple survive, there are no glib 
conclusions to be drawn. The Temple is not as easy 
or as neat as that. Unlike all Religious and Political 
doctrines, that exist on belief in a statement, the 
Temple exists only in the form of a question. A 
question begging a response which only you are able 
to give, based on your activity and research. Perhaps 
the only judgemental criterion one need apply to 
any cult phenomenon is: Does it ask questions that 
are worth answering? 

In critical terms, even PTV manage to slither 
through the usual net as they claim not to entertain, 
but to provoke - and given the responses to PTV, 
they succeed. 

And how does one take exception to this anti- 
Christ sitting here surrounded by the warm, slightly 
shitty domestic whiff that can only come from babies 
and pets - as he struggles against this "numbness of 


content" on one side and slanderous and sometimes 
physical assaults on the other? He claims no 
salvation, and brings only stimulation - the brass 
tack nailed into this Psychic Cross in an admission of 
vulnerability, fallibility that is all too recognisably 
human to be hero worshipped or obeyed - asking 
his solitary question from the bleeding heart of The 
Family: CAN THE WORLD BE AS SAD AS IT SEEMS? 

His favourite song of all time is the Velvets' I'll Be 
Your Mirror, closely followed by a sad old Country 
Joe and the Fish number, which goes " But who am 
I/To stand and wonder/Wait/While the wheels of Fate 
slowly grind my life away”. Genesis is not one to 
stand still and wait. Although his letters and late 
night conversations sometimes show submission to 
the constant pressure he puts himself under ("Oh let 
us write a book, a useful tool, and hide away in 
Spain living a quiet existence of debauchery" or "/ 
have one more pop scam up my sleeve and then I 
will retire to Brighton to be Grand Old Grumpy of 
my era, I think...") he will continue to fight and 
provoke and confuse and force the hand of chance 
as long as he draws breath. 

"Why do it all? Because it works for me and it 
makes sense to me and it makes life more 
stimulating. And, quite honestly, if life can be made 
more stimulating, then that's enough. Because it's a 
pretty boring concept really, being alive. It’s not 
normally a riveting sensation, sixty odd years of 
crawling around the planet. I don’t claim to have an 
original idea in my head. I’ve just observed things 
and tried to develop from that a clear line of 
thought in my mind, which I'm determined to follow 
through. It's an honest and interesting option for 




44 ‘ RAPID EYE 1 


me. And if it's applicable to other people then that's 
really nice, but primarily I'm doing all this as research 
for me, but as I've always believed in sharing 
research and information that's what we do as well. 
I've never yet come across anybody who's convinced 
me that we’re going in the wrong direction. The 
more I learn and read about cultures, philosophies, 
perceptions and aesthetics the more I believe that it’s 
just a useful synthesis of all those things that we're 
all searching for anyway. That synthesis has to 
include everything, and it starts with the individual 
and their personality, then goes through to their 
behaviour, then their relationships to the other 
people around them. That in turn generates 
outwards to society. I still believe that is the only 
way to get any change. I still believe that politics is 
a sham, that the mass media is designed to make us 
stupid, that drugs are there to control and distract 
us, and that violence is a cathartic exercise that does 
no good in the longterm whatsoever." 

So here he is, still trying to define and refine and 
articulate Life. Investigate the expressions of his life, 
and expect nothing. Ignore them, and expect less. 

“'What’s with this serum?' 

7 don't know, but it sounds ominous. The man's 
not to be trusted. Might do almost anything...Turn 
a massacre into a sex orgy.’ 

'Or a joke.’ 

'Precisely. Arty type - No principles.'" 

—William S. Burroughs, The Naked Lunch 

“'Ugh,' Sung-Wu agreed. 'Itseems incredible people 
could practise such fanatic and disgusting rites.' He 
got nervously to his feet. 

7 must go’." 

—Philip K. Dick, The Turning Wheel 


FOOTNOTE: 

Since the writing and publication of this article in the original 
edition of Rapid Eye 1, Genesis P-Orridge has been effectively 
run out of the country. The news media, keen on 
sensationalising the largely contrived ‘Satanic abuse’ 
allegations in several parts of Britain (allegations which have 
now been proved to have been false), jumped on the band¬ 
wagon and accused P-Orridge and the Temple organisation of 
being Satanists, and that they were involved in the ritual abuse 
and murder of children. 

Working with several extremist Christian authors who had 
recently published wildly over-the-top books and articles on the 
“Satanist" issue, the production team of the Channel 4 tabloid 
TV programme Dispatches concocted a false, sensationalists 
and completely biased show claiming finally to prove ritual 
Satanic abuse". 

Showing short edited clips of a supposedly secret cult video 
that they had discovered (in fact, the ‘First Transmission’ art 
video referred to in this article, and shown openly at various 
performances and exhibitions for years), a voice-over claimed 
that the film was of a “Satanic ritual" involving abortion and 
torture! 

Although neither TOPY or P-Orridge was named (to avoid 
libel actions that would undoubtedly have been taken by P- 
Orridge and TOPY solicitors against Channel 4, the station’s 
legal advisors recommended that the programme was changed 
prior to airing. It was thus re-edited shortly before 
transmission), the TOPY logo and artwork was flashed on to 
the screen on many occasions. 

Besides the ridiculous, mock ‘serious’ voice-over, viewers 
were also treated to sounds of what appeared to be a child 
crying in agony. The implications were obvious. Though, in 
fact, we can reveal that the child noises were taken from a 
personal recording P-Orridge made of his first daughter 
Caresse being born. As any PTV fan knows, this recording had 
been used by PTV as the backing for a sentimental, first-time 
fatherly song Gen wrote to his (then) baby daughter, called 
‘Just Drifting’. The ‘Dispatches’ production team had, therefore, 
turned what they knew to be a song of paternal pride and 
affection ("My little girl/precious and pure... you possess me 
with simple love... you touched my heart“ etc.) and gave the 
deliberate impression (without the lyrics) that it was a recording 
of a baby being tortured. 

In an attempt to back up these ridiculous innuendos and 
assertions with a modicum of “evidence", the programme 
makers interviewed on film an un-lit individual, called only 
“Jennifer", who claimed to have been involved in the Satanic 
ritual, and, having been brainwashed by the cult (sic), agreed 
to the murder of her own children. Channel 4 later claimed that 
the witness, and a copy of the video, had been passed-on to 
them by a “professional carer". In fact, the presenter of the 
programme had been introduced to the woman by a solicitor, 
Marshall Roland. Unbeknown to most people, it is an 
established fact that Mr Roland had previously been forced to 
resign from his practice because of his extreme, and some 
would say eccentric views on “the dangers of Satanism". 
The witness is, in fact, a woman who has since been described 
as a ‘professional victim’, well known to professional journalists 
and others, who has given lurid testimonies over the years to 
abuse-councillors as well as various rape and incest help 
groups. She is now receiving psychiatric help. (This “witness" 
later went on to describe the interior of the building in which 
these “rituals" were said to have taken place - incorrectly. She 
said, for example, that the scenes filmed took place in the 
basement of the building. In fact, Rapid Eye can reveal the 
building in question has no basement). 

Despite the serious nature of her claims, Channel 4 refused 
to reveal her identity or fully co-operate with the Police, who 




GENESIS P-ORRIDGE • 45 


were consequentially unable to interview her and carry out 
proper enquiries into the allegations. The Dispatches team 
appeared, for some reason, not to want to get to the bottom of 
the allegations. Either that, or they are quite willing to protect 
self-confessed child murderers in the interests of getting a 
sensational story that happens to support their own unusual 
view of the world. Superintendent Michael Hames, head of 
Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad, said: “I need to 
see these witnesses urgently because - if what they say is true 
- serious crimes have been committed which require 
investigation." His requests remain ignored by Channel 4. 

The Dispatches team did, however, suggest to the police 
just prior to airing their well-advertised programme that P- 
Orridge was connected to the ritual abuse of children and was 
the ring-leader of a “Satanic cult". Police, who, apparently “had 
P-Orridge and his followers under surveillance for some time", 
had, however, been planning no raid on P-Orridge, and thus 
had their hand forced by the journalists, who threatened to 
reveal on TV that although the identity of the cult was now 
known to the police (due to the journalists own wonderful 
investigative reporting), the police themselves had not bothered 
to act. 

Forced into action by the imminent screening of the 
programme, over twenty plain clothed and uniformed officers 
from Scotland Yard and Brighton Police station raided the P- 
Orridge family home in the Lewes Road area of Brighton. 
Remaining in the house for several hours, they questioned a 
friend who was staying at the house (to feed the pets) as well 
as neighbours. They also seized two van loads - over two 
tonnes - of private “material", including letters, diaries, family 
photo albums, address books, sculptures, musical instruments, 
artwork and videos (including Walt Disney cartoons). Genesis 
P-Orridge, his wife Paula, and two daughters, Caresse and 
Genesse, were fortunately at the time enjoying a family holiday 
visiting Buddhist temples in Thailand. 

After the Dispatches programme was aired, the story was 
taken up by the tabloid press, who predictably vilified P- 
Orridge. Several papers remembered that he was the man who 
had been involved in the GPO/Mailart trial, and also that he 
was the infamous ICA Tampon Man. They said that P-Orridge 
and his “followers" (sic) “are lewd, disgusting people involved 
in all types of extreme sexual behaviour". Supposedly ‘serious’ 
newspapers, such as The Observer, joined in, publishing 
bizarre, unchallenged articles from Eileen Fairweather, a 
‘researcher’ on the programme, which claimed (wrongly) that 
doctors and police had confirmed the film was genuine (ie one 
of a secret Satanic ritual involving child murder and forced 
abortion). Rapid Eye can reveal that this same ‘investigative 
journalist’ Eileen Fairweather was at the time a member of an 
extreme fundamentalist Christian group, and had herself 
previously undergone an “exorcism" at the hands of that 
group’s leader. 

In more sane sections of the media, an angry Derek Jarman 
and others countered this nonsense with the very obvious fact 
that the ‘Satanic’ video in question was in fact nothing more 
than a (very old) video-art ‘piece’. Had the pseudo-journalists 
(or, more accurately, cranks) concerned with the programme 
read Rapid Eye, they would of course have known that several 
years previously. 

After a thorough investigation (this time carried out by 
professionals), a police spokesman said that some charges 
were being considered, though THESE CHARGES DID NOT 
HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH CHILD ABUSE OR MURDER, 
AS THE POLICE HAD SATISFIED THEMSELVES THAT 
THESE ALLEGATIONS WERE UNFOUNDED. 

Over a year after the raid, police still have not returned any 
of the innocuous confiscated material. Channel 4 have not 
bothered to retract their statements and damaging, though 


suitably vague implications, or apologise, nor even give any 
coverage to the facts as reported by Jarman and the police. 
Nor have they mentioned the many factual inaccuracies of their 
gutter-level ‘documentary’ or the books that inspired it. 

We can in fact reveal that Channel 4 and the Dispatches 
production team went to extraordinary lengths to cover-up the 
strong Christian fundamentalist views of those involved in the 
making of this individual edition of the programme. For 
example, the Dispatches credits said that the film had been 
produced by ‘Look Twice Productions’. There is no such 
company listed in the telephone book. In fact, during the 
production of the programme, the group purchased an ‘off-the- 
shelf company for around £200 with which to conceal 
themselves. Channel 4 deny that this was a device to hide the 
true views of the team involved, but have offered no 
explanation as to why such unusual tactics were employed to 
mislead their viewers. 

Presenter Andrew Boyd said: “Our religious views are 
irrelevant". Anyone who has had the misfortune to read his 
quite laughable, badly researched, inaccurate and at times 
semi-literate book, Blasphemous Rumours (Harper Collins), will 
know that Boyd’s religious beliefs are far from being irrelevant 
when it comes to his presentation of ‘facts’. His religious 
convictions are his private concern, but not when they impinge 
upon the personal convictions of others, or their liberty, or on 
the rights of innocent children and parents, or on standards of 
professional - let alone honest - reporting. Boyd claimed in the 
documentary that 98,000 children disappear every year in 
Britain and implied that they are abused and/or murdered. The 
police, like most normal people, know and say that this is 
absolute rubbish. Very few children go missing each year, and 
there are no cases at all of children proved to have been 
abused or murdered by so-called Satanic groups. Dr. Bill 
Thompson, a criminologist from Reading University, says: “The 
truth is that not one child has ever spontaneously described 
Satanic ritual abuse. It only emerges after repeated questioning 
and suggestions by adults." This view, commonly held by 
experts, was not even alluded to in the unbalanced sham 
documentary. 

It is no surprise; the editorial techniques adopted throughout 
by the mysterious ‘Look Twice’ team are, to put it kindly, 
questionable. For example, Dr. Wendy Savage, a respected 
consultant gynaecologist, had been interviewed by the team. 
She says: “I viewed the video and told the Channel 4 film 
makers it clearly was not an abortion being shown. For some 
reason they cut me and my views out of the finished 
programme. I also told them that in my opinion, someone had 
a very fertile imagination." Boyd's book was, by the way, 
published to co-incide with the screening of Dispatches. The 
more extreme the programme, the greater the publicity 
generated for the book, the fatter the Royalty cheque. 

Caught in a limbo, the P-Orridge family have been forced 
from their home (and, in the children’s case, school), had their 
personal belongings effectively stolen, and are in an Oscar 
Wilde-type exile, forced to live in more tolerant California 
(legally, and without hinderance) but with no substantial source 
of income or permanent base. (P-Orridge currently ekes out a 
living by performing - PTV are still the best-known ‘unknown’ 
band in the world - and lecturing extensively with “Weary" 
Timothy Leary. He is also a “Youth Culture Expert" employed 
by various Californian Think Tanks in Silicon Valley.) Their 
family home in Brighton has been invaded by policemen and, 
later, ransacked by paint-spraying vandals. Valuable paintings 
and irreplaceable memorabilia have been stolen or destroyed. 
With P-Orridge unable to meet mortgage payments due to the 
move, and unable to sell the property, the Building Society are 
considering re-possessing the house. 

Even more importantly, the P-Orridge family’s personal, 




46 • RAPID EYE 1 


private lives and histories have been ransacked, distorted and 
debated in public by strangers who have vested interests. 
(Journalists keen for good copy, religious cranks keen to sway 
public opinion against libertarianism and sell their own narrow¬ 
minded books, and self important rumour-mongers of all types). 

Unspecific charges are still being considered by the police 
(though have not been made), meaning that P-Orridge risks 
arrest if he returns to this country on charges that he has not 
even yet been informed of. (It is thought by some that, before 
bringing charges, the Police have waited for the Law Lords 
final ruling on the controversial ‘Spanner’ sentences - several 
men having been arrested and imprisoned for consentual adult 
sex in private that involved S/M activities that, under a new 
interpretation of the law, were deemed to involve assault and 
therefore be illegal. Thus, any adult in Britain involved in SM 
activities, or even the piercing of a consenting adult partner, 
became criminals. It is also thought that P-Orridge, as a 
founding member of COUM and TOPY, may be charged with 
obscenity for some of his controversial, transgressive artwork). 

Despite the lessons learned from the Orkney case, Social 
Services would also possibly feel obliged in the current media¬ 
generated climate of hysteria to investigate the case, which 
may involve temporary removal and interrogation of the 
children, regardless of the psychological damage this may 
have on them and the family. Again, Social Services, who 
before the programme were happy to let Gen and Paula bring 
up their children, would have their hand forced by know-all, 
attention seeking TV journalists and researchers desperate to 
increase their programme’s tiny viewing figures, regardless of 
the disruption their irresponsible actions cause to innocent 
parents and children. 

Regardless of the laws relating to sub judice, Boyd and his 
cronies have, in effect, tried P-Orridge in the media, as self- 
appointed policeman, prosecution, judge and jury. Many 
journalists and newspaper editors have, as usual, shamelessly 
followed suit. If charges are ever brought, will it be easy to find 
a real jury who have not been influenced against P-Orridge by 
the scurrilous reportage he has attracted? 

Mindful, and respectful of the laws of sub judice, we have 
been careful here only to report proven facts that are already 
public knowledge. We could say more. 

Finally, if the ‘investigative reporters’ of Channel 4 had any 
awareness or professionalism, they would have realised that 
the very video they “discovered” had in fact been made over a 
decade earlier (in 1981) by a video artist interested in the 
Temple, and had in fact previously been aired on Channel 4, 
BBC, and Thames TV arts programmes, as well as on 
television in Europe. To our knowledge, the video has never 
been distributed or been on sale, though it has been shown at 
exhibitions and performances. Stills from the video appeared 
openly in Rapid Eye Movement as far back as 1985. 

The Temple of Psychic Youth continues to evolve and grow, 
albeit without P-Orridge, who decided to discontinue his 
involvement with the group in 1990. Since that time, the 
Temple has focused its attention more and more on developing 
new methods and symbolism with which to address the 
continued slow decay that they perceive in society. This decay 
manifests itself not only in the economic sense, but also, 
perhaps more significantly, in an increasing breakdown of hope 
and genuinely innovative creativity. 

The early history of the Temple given in the above article is 
simply that, HIS-story. As was perhaps intended from the 
outset, the Temple has gradually become - as was stated - a 
co-operate venture. Thus, anyone approaching the Temple as 
it is now, in the hope of finding the Temple as it was then, will 
be disappointed (or not, as the case may be). TOPY has no 
wish to live in the past, and has never wished to be a static 
entity, tied to tradition or any form of fixed myth or 


methodology. As I said in this article, TOPY is based not on 
any one idea or system, but on flux. TOPY continually re¬ 
invents itself, as time flows, it changes. It is a question of 
evolution, of continuing to check and re-check the principal 
concerns of society as it really is; and the application of a 
“Magickal Perception’ to those concerns. 

So, TOPY still exists, their forms of communication and 
interests are broader-based, but equally intense. The 
exploration of society, of Control, of art and of The Art 
continues unabated. The period since the raid has taught 
TOPY a great deal, not only about media and communication, 
not only about the power of myths (and their construction); but 
also about the deeper levels of magick as it integrates fully as 
a truly effective means of Life. 

TOPY has never offered easy answers - it still doesn't. It is 
neither a cult, nor a religion. It is not “Satanic”, it is not 
“Christian”. Indeed, these terms, left/right, black/white are not, 
and never have been the issues here. TOPY simply strives to 
be a way of seeing just a little bit more than you first thought 
was there, of seeing through the image that is projected and 
dealing directly with the realities behind these myths, behind 
these masks. Perhaps P-Orridge created one myth through 
which the mythology can be better understood. Perhaps 
everything was scripted, perhaps, on the other hand, nothing 
was intentional or true. Whatever your opinions, TOPY is a 
journey of discovery. Nothing less; and perhaps a great deal 
more. 

For information on TOPY as it is now, write, enclosing an 
SAE or IRC to: Transmedia Foundation, PO Box 1034, 
Occidental, CA 95465-1034, USA. It should be noted that, after 
the media furore, mail heading for Temple Records, Temple 
Press, TOPY, and other organisations, including Rapid Eye, 
started to go missing or was clearly tampered with. (Though 
this has now stopped). The Liberty organisation (formerly the 
National Council for Civil Liberties), wrote to Rapid Eye saying 
that the Special Branch were probably opening our mail. 
Several bookshops refused to stock Rapid Eye. 

We like to feel we live in a liberal society, and are cynical 
about any claims of suppression. We merely present you with 
the facts. 

As we said in the above original article, Genesis P-Orridge 
represents a threat to Control. Society has concocted “good” 
reasons to remove him from a position of some artistic and 
social influence. Also, society has tried to come to terms with 
the genuine problem of child abuse, which most often takes 
place behindthe net curtains of ‘normal’ suburban families, by 
transposing the problem onto an imagined minority group of 
individuals who may be interested in the academic works of 
assorted writers, artists and prophets who are considered to be 
‘suspect’ by the majority - or, at least, by the populist media 
that claims to speak for the majority. Thus, people who read 
books such as Rapid Eye are assumed to be paedophiles and 
“Devil worshippers’ (sic), regardless of the fact that many 
probably do not even believe in God or the Devil (we will 
ignore for the moment the fact that Satanism and paganism 
need have nothing to do with concepts of the Devil). So, the 
problem of child abuse is no longer a problem of society as a 
whole. The problem, as always, is the minority group. 

The society that condones the dropping of nuclear weapons 
on children, systematically tortures and kills millions of animals, 
sells and poisons land from beneath unborn feet and profits 
from the preventable starvation and exploitation of children in 
differently developed countries, thus remains clean. 

As Gen himself once wrote, borrowing from Charles Manson: 

“CAN THE WORLD BE AS SAD AS IT SEEMS?” 

We let you decide. 


—Simon Dwyer, Florence, 1993. 




SYBARITE AMONG THE SHADOWS 


R. C. McNeff 


BERLIN 1938: The yellow stars daubed on shop 
windows in the old quarter, overshadowed by the 
monstrous towers the Nazis called architecture, 
museums of the thousand-year Reich. Such a 
millenarian atmosphere suited Crowley fresh, if that 
is the word, from the Paris workings. He doted, like 
a gratified parent, on the 'German Crusade' as he 
called it. The authorities tolerated his existence. In 
some places names he had been uttering for years 
were on the lips of high ranking SS officers: 
Ahruman, Horus, Moloch... many deities were abroad 
that summer. Besides, he was well connected with 
the Nazis stretching back to the early days of the 
party's formation. However, they didn't like the 
relationship to be too defined. Already they were a 
hidden doctrine, a religion of intrigue and the 
esoteric. Worshippers of the left hand, the perverted 
spirit - but in secret only. To the ostensible world 
they presented themselves as the final cultists of the 
empirical. Crowley to them was something of a 
buffoon; an actor in a shadow theatre of rich 
widows and cocaine, someone who shared their 
language but not their intent. Crowley himself did 
not dislike this arrangement; he loved outrage and 
the extravagant, while for them the purpose was 
enough. 

Crowley first met Huxley in a bar in Landulfstrasse. 
Huxley was in Berlin as an observer of the strange 
monster Germany was becoming. Like many 
observers, both repulsed and fascinated by the dark 
rhythm that beat in the pulse of that nation. To 


describe their relationship as friendship would be to 
miss the point. Crowley was doubtless fascinating - 
notorious as the Great Beast in his own country and 
much of Europe, cosmopolitan, a brilliant 
conversationalist and something of an enigma. 
Whereas Huxley was a myopic creature of the 
intellect. Yet Crowley attracted him, just as a few 
years before, he had attracted the dry, peevish 
Somerset Maugham in Paris. He almost existed for 
the straying eyes of the novelist, who longed for 
those chapters of exhibition life did not often afford. 
Yet now Crowley fades; his rotundity, absurd and 
menacing, is blurred. A glaring headline of 
Edwardian sin. 

"Do what thou wilt shall be the 
whole of the Law 
Love is the Law 
Love under Will." 

So I utter his law in my own defence. That 
simplification that only he, the pettiest of profaners, 
could sprout. Dictated in the mirage of a Cairo night 
by his guardian angel, Aiwass. I think of him shortly 
after the war sitting in that seedy Hastings boarding 
house sated with the law. A figure of pathos in his 
shambling dressing-gown nursing his habits and 
remorse. An aged centaur; sybarite among the 
shadows. In the fading of his aeon more like the 
Fool than Prospero. A wrinkled soul. 

Already in the late 'thirties Huxley was fascinated 



48 • RAPID EYE 1 



by the psychotropics. Hoffman had yet to fall off his 
bicycle, but there existed an abundance of literature 
on the subject. Havelock Ellis' experiments with 
mescalin or William James' with psilocybin. And 
Berlin, at that time, was the centre of drug abuse in 
Europe. Both Hitler and GSering used cocaine, and 
the SS administered many narcotics in their higher 
initiation ceremonies, particularly in the ritual of the 
stifling air, which closely resembled the Black Mass. 
Indeed, it is my own expressed opinion that the 
origins of both the Nazi party and the Second World 
War lie in the combined diet of methedrine and 
Nietzsche (A/so Sprach Zarathustra) fed to the 
German soldiers in the trenches twenty or so years 
before. An oversimplification perhaps, yet the first 
chemical psychohistory of our epoch remains to be 
written. 

Thus it was that Huxley came to Crowley for his 
first taste of mescalin. The latter took the drug 
irregularly without pretensions, purely as an exercise 
in that hedonistic spirituality he practised. Huxley, on 


the other hand, nourished a genuine, mystical 
longing that could come only from someone as 
deeply rooted in reason as himself. There was, 
therefore, a confusion of aims, a perennial ambiguity 
about their enterprise. And I, Victor Neuberg, 
sodomite and poet, accomplice of the Paris workings, 
was the arbiter. They had spent the afternoon in my 
somewhat less than opulent quarters, discussing 
Karma. Crowley was talking: "Tome it exists solely as 
a paradox. It's true, I have seen retribution in many 
things discerning a balance that is continually 
maintained. But this process is unending. It acts in 
everything and thus to allow its acknowledgement is 
absurd." 

"But we reap what we sow, Aleister," Huxley 
exclaimed, "not in a moral sense. At least only 
incidentally moral, more or less by accident. Nemesis 
is something like gravitation, indifferent. For 
example, if you sow self-stultification by an excessive 
interest in money, you reap a grotesque humiliation. 
But..." 



ALEISTER CROWLEY • 49 


“In what sense?" interrupted Crowley. “How can 
you possibly accuse the rich of humiliation? Surely 
they're the last people to fall victim to that 
particular vice." 

“I was coming to that," Huxley resumed. "By 
self-stultification I don't just mean money. I mean 
anything that clouds the spirit. Over-indulgence in 
alcohol, food, or sex are more examples of things 
that wreck our purpose. But because these things 
reduce you to a sub-human condition, you will not 
be aware that the humiliation is humiliation. There's 
your explanation why Nemesis sometimes seems to 
reward. What she brings is a humiliation only in the 
absolute sense, for the ideal and complete human 
being, or at any rate, for the nearly complete. For 
the sub-human it may seem a triumph, a 
consummation, a fulfilment of the heart's desire." 

“Moral concluded Crowley, “live sub-humanly 
and Nemesis may bring you happiness. Well, if you’ll 
excuse me, my dear Aldous, I will proceed to 
self-stultify. Victor, if you don't mind, Pandora's 
box." 

I rose and went to the cabinet and took out his 
medicine. Four phials lay in the ivory box. I selected 
the one containing Burmese heroin and another 
containing Bolivian cocaine. Carefully I mixed the 
powders on a silver tray, crushing the dirty, khaki- 
coloured heroin and adding about five times as 
much cocaine. I passed Crowley a silver spoon that, 
with surprising dexterity, he used to scoop up some 
of the powder, which he then deftly inhaled, first 
through the right and then the left nostril. I did the 
same. 

"Won't you join us for cocktails." Crowley invited. 
"An excellent combination." Huxley shook his head, 
disapproval etched deeply on this thin, drawn face. 

Observing this, Crowley commented: 

"I’m afraid that if you keep the devil's company 
then you must see his works. Or imagine you're with 
an old Falstaff, you know, gentlemen of the shade, 
minions of the Moon." 

"Yes," Huxley said, "but it's such a waste, the 
ultimate form of self-stultification. And what’s more, 
I'm sure it’s a conscious assault on the soul, an 
intense dereliction. “ 

"It depends," Crowley replied. "Drugs are magic 
and have always been used as such. The soma of the 
Vedas, the lotus of Homer all point to the fact as do 
the henbane and belladonna of the witches. And I’m 
sure for the normal man, who I happily call the 
sub-man, they are invariably detrimental. But in no 
way do I consider myself ordinary. To me drugs are 
the litmus test of capacity. I know the wraith-like 
effects of cocaine, that long corridor of shadows 
where the soul is wasted and profaned. Or heroin, 
the cushioned daze of the opiated night. But it is 
because I have supped large on both the joys and 
sorrows that I consider myself more than human." 

“But the waste, Crowley! The waste! Have you 
read the intimate journals of Baudelaire? Isherwood, 
who's staying near here, has just translated them. 
I've never seen such desperation, such regret over a 



Victor: the last picture 


lifetime spent addicted to false ideals. Those being 
hashish and the whole series of indulgences loved by 
the decadents." 

"But that is it exactly!” Crowley exclaimed. 
"Baudelaire loved it, gloried in his fall, his personal 
damnation. And besides, he did write some damn 
fine stuff, and wasn’t that born precisely out of 
those feelings of failure or hysteria which he 
cultivated in his drug-taking, his negresses, his 
remorse ? You see, Huxley, as long as we are active 
we are saved. All energy is external delight as long 
as we use it. To me, to take a drug is to permit a 
daemon to enter the sanctum of thought and action. 
And if we give voice to this captured spirit then we 
enforce, rather than profane. We create new 
channels and these lead to our exorcism." 

He got up and went over to the sideboard. It was 
growing dark outside and his obesity threw a giant 
shadow across the wall. I suppose, in tribute to the 
spirit of the times, I should comment on the stamp 
of stormtroopers' boots on the street below. But in 
truth I heard only the growl of traffic and the 
occasional voice. Crowley came back and gave 
Huxley a piece of paper. "Read this," he said. 

I have that paper in front of me now. In the last 
three decades it has become brittle and yellowed 
round the edges. It is one of many of his papers that 
I still keep. Bills and incantations and the occasional 
poem or letter. Existing like me, in obscurity, 
unknown to both his followers and biographers. It is 



50 • RAPID EYE 1 


divided into two parts and I shall transcribe it here: 

"From the tower enchantment and the sweet 
hypnosis of lost time. My dreamseed spill their 
valediction across known worlds. I tell the 
cartographers who call my map invisible, that space 
is frozen in the habit of their fiction. Their cities are 
my seed; their houses, wives and toil are fantastic 
shadows of solidity. I see only waves, brilliant, aural 
cartoons containing but one centimetre of gross 
matter. Let the radiant language now spill forth. I 
sing the chisel and the blade; the hammer and the 
scales, long and measure, and all melodies of craft. 
The work ferments inside my battery of cells. My 
voltage is a million watts. 

“Alchemy is patient. It sits in stillness. Like Tao it 
recognises the divinity of hazard, the vigour of the 
useless, the accident is merely the collision of two 
meanings. So in me the dross solidifies. I have 
stopped asking if I have a story as there are no 
stories now, only decipherable collisions. In me the 
opaque furniture of the random is condensed and 
drained into rich ore. My veins are heavy with dark 
coal nurturing diamonds. I am the redking, the 
bronzed phoenix reborn upon the wheel of flame. I 
have traversed the river of ordeal and was crowned 
with elementals. Now shall the paradox of prism 
blaze onto papyrus my hearts bold voice. 

"Airborne visions tingle. Coming from rich flight 
the dreamer's wingspan. Almost prosaic this 
whirlwind. Lost continents, contours, cartographers. 
And me, my maiden voyage is crystals and glass, my 
arbour and my veil. Truly the scheming polarity of 
vision this placing on a glass a pane that mirrors to 
the heart's dereliction, the soul's migration. I sweep 
the city. This is the holy liquid of metropolis, 
fashioned in the image of its metal bowels. This is 
the fall of Ushers, the corruption of sense. Neon 
flashes. Tell me the sex of electricity, of coils, sockets, 
plugs. Before the planet gave the deity of gender to 
the thunder in the hills. Only man creates the sexless. 
My mind is snow vapour, airwaves flow freely, like 
the magic carpet on Sinbad's voyage. You see, I am 
standing in Mexico. I have the stature of the 
ancients, the children of Lilith, twenty-three feet tall. 
I strut the sunflower Van Gogh sand, eaten by cacti, 
while the arcane sun explodes above. We eat the 
sun, my starry brethren. We are portions of its seed, 
the great spurting, in us forever. In the fever of 
mirage, in hallucinations I seek to touch the 
brimming fare of yellow: Peyotl, datura and mescal. 
Behind the needles sharpened by white light, 
fantastic buds map shades of an oasis". 

Huxley read the piece carefully but was 
unimpressed. His exact words I cannot recall, only 
that they were polite and vague. I myself am 
somewhat fond of the two passages. They represent, 

I think, one of the few occasions when Crowley had 
something to say. When he was actually touched by 
vision. Doubtless, to Huxley, they were another 
aspect of the man's inescapable lunacy, along with 
the whole pantheon of dark, forgotten gods and 
familiars that sprang so glibly to his tongue. 


"Well," he said. "When the wind of the wings of 
madness come I hope you are prepared." 

His purpose in coming to us that evening was to 
take mescalin. They had discussed the substance at 
length - Huxley referring to Havelock Ellis and 
Crowley to the Vedas, for he believed the divine 
soma of the Indians was none other than the 
mushroom. "Come then," said Crowley, "at about six 
o’clock". And it was then we began. First we smoked 
hashish from the big hookah, its effect lightening 
the atmosphere considerably. Huxley lost most of the 
caustic self-possession that clung to him, like a limpet 
clings to a rock. He was almost merry. My mind and 
Crowley's still maintained the intense clarity that 
cocaine induces and which alcohol or hashish only 
partly subdue. So we teased him as if he were a 
mischievous child. His intellect was running wild. He 
talked scathingly of England and the English, 
expressing opinions that delighted Crowley. They 
discussed Gurdjieff, Buddhism, Yeats and his vision, 
and this time it was Crowley's turn to be scathing. 
Huxley even launched into a lecture on Tao exercises, 
which Crowley brought to an abrupt halt by asking 
if one hand clap wasn't a form of masturbatory 
syphilis. We all laughed uproariously, like schoolboys 
over a dirty joke. Meanwhile I had administered the 
mescalin. 

"You know Hitler has taken this stuff/' Crowley 
observed. "I heard it from a reliable friend in the 
OTO." 

"OTO?" inquired Huxley. 

"The Ordo Templi Orientis. My local branch, you 
might say. And their connections with the Nazis are 
nobody's business. They almost founded the party, or 
at least subverted it. Do you know that two of their 
chief men personally trained Adolf Hitler? Before, he 
was a stuttering Austrian oaf, a shoddy Bohemian 
and a pervert to boot. They taught him oratory, 
rhetoric and, under the influence of this drug that 
will shortly, my dear Aldous, set your eyes on fire, 
gave him his daemon." 

There was, in Crowley's words, a certain malice. A 
hint from the prince to our novelist, our absolute 
realist, of the irrational and dark forces he might 
encounter. 

"Then" Huxley said, "all the disparate romanticism 
that, in its waning, found expression in the 
irrational, in secret cults, has made its kingdom here. 
Fascism is, after all, the triumph of decadence, the 
final madness of Bohemia." 

"So that carnage of Ahriman may be complete, 
precisely," Crowley replied. 

Later, a vast smile spread across Huxley's formerly 
dry features, now radiant, illuminated, his eyes 
tinged with fire. In what region of enchantment he 
walked I do not know. Whether beneath the icy 
domes of Kubla Khan or, some long vanished field of 
his childhood, fragrant with wood smoke, haunted 
by summer's breath, he did not say. And what music 
flowed inside him, whether the Abyssinian maid 
soothed him with her dulcimer or some stellar 
symphony caressed his ears, was also his secret. 




ALEISTER CROWLEY • 51 



ahu(e«<9efenfd>off 


Whatever is discovered at such moments belongs 
inviolably to the inner life of the individual. And 
even should he wish to communicate, he would 
probably find the few words that pertain to this 
province of experience unforthcoming. We have no 
maps for the mescal voyage of the psyche. For me it 
was a night of colours: yellow spectres emanating 
from the gaslamps; dancing lights of rain falling on 
the windowsill; deep cobalt of the sky; violet gauze 
of cloud over a white moon and all the world's 
allure gathered in a rainbow. 

At one point Crowley produced his Tarot deck, the 
pack of Thoth. The figures seemed to move, the 
lovers entwining themselves on the matrix, the 
empress smiling her impenetrable smile while the 
prince of wands tightened the reigns of the chimera 
he rode upon. 

All these vital creatures through our intent, in the 
steely point of time called Berlin, living in the 
correspondence of their ageless dance. Like some 
pharaoh of long ago, we glimpsed the highest 
octaves, the peerless mathematics of the stars. 

At another point, Crowley quoted from the Book 
of the Law: “I am the snake that giveth knowledge 
and delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of 
men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine 
and strange drugs, whereof I will tell my prophet 
and be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all." 

“A trifle dangerous, don't you think?" Huxley 
murmured blearily. 

"Of course," Crowley agreed, always lucid at such 
moments. “If you read it carelessly and act on it 
rashly it might well lead to trouble. But the words 
'to worship me' are all important. 

"They mean that things like cocaine, mescalin and 
alcohol may be, and should be used for the purpose 
of worshipping. That is, entering into communion 
with the snail, which is the genius that lies at the 
core of every star. And every man and woman is a 


star. 

“The taking of a drug should be a carefully 
thought out and religious act. Experience alone can 
teach you the right conditions in which the act is 
legitimate; that is, when it assists you to do your 
will." 

Huxley left shortly after. Walking through a Berlin 
he had never seen before. Where cylinders of fire in 
the cold dawn air dazzled his senses, and the 
splashing rain became cartwheels of light, fire flies 
mating with the pavement. He had entered a 
hitherto unknown continent and now, like an 
illuminated Columbus, was intent on discovery. I 
remained with the good master Therion, his bulk 
shifting in a reverie on the Turkish couch. 

Many years stretch between then and now. Long 
ago my two protagonists were dust, fallen to the 
bottom of the hourglass. Huxley on his death bed; 
two hundred microgrammes of LSD-25, the vapid 
grin of his chemical exit. Crowley in that dirty 
Hastings boarding house; a vast spider with a heroin 
itch, regurgitating the entrapments of the past. 
Many years: a war, the accelerated madness of an 
epoch, the dawning of the age of Thelema. To me 
long, slow years of remorse, when I turned from the 
gender he had so skilfully taught me, and from the 
vision that witnessed me abandoned in the desert: 
the pallid brows, stiff horns, the foul rapture that 
attends that angel, to we in league with him, 
through time and eternity. 

His sub-contractors. 





Huxley wrote his name on this photo of his hand 
just before he died. 




DREAMACHINE 

An Information Montage 


Simon Dwyer 


The Dreamachine was devised by Brion Gysin, artist, 
writer, traveller and alchemist; one of the great 
unsung British painters of the 20th Century. Too 
clever and independent for the consumerist Art 
World, he nevertheless exhibited with Picasso, had 
shows throughout Europe and America, and was 
famously expelled from the Surrealists by Andre 
Breton. 

Gysin was the seminal influence who introduced 
William S. Burroughs to the use of cut-ups in writing. 
His wide cultural synthesis led him also into the 
world of the Rolling Stones, and particularly Brian 
Jones, whom he introduced to the Master Musicians 
of Joujouka in Morocco. He did not identify with any 
codified, preconceived religion, philosophy, or system 
of thought. He cited his major influence as Hassan i 
Sabbah, knowing that Hassan i Sabbah left no 
written teachings or doctrines. Since so little is really 
known about Hassan i Sabbah - the "Old Man of the 
Mountain" from whom the word 'assassin' derived - 
or his followers, any thought that is informed by 
Hassan i Sabbah must, therefore, be made up of 
suppositions and the use of the imagination. Gysin's 
world was thus magickal in origin. Brion said that we 
are "here to go". The future is in space. Not, as most 
thought, outer space, but interior space. The future 
- like the universe - is here, in the mind. 

The Dreamachine is a spacecraft that travels 
through time. NASA and the technophiles are left 
behind for the price of a lightbulb. Brion Gysin spent 


many years of his life in Britain, America, Morocco 
and France; but he spent most of his time in that 
place where all true visionaries are forced to dwell - 
in his mind. 

"Brain waves, minute electrical oscillations 
associated with brain activity, can be measured 
accurately and graphically recorded by the 
electroencephalograph (EEG) machine. EEG records 
show that brain rhythms divide into groups 
according to frequency. One of these groups, the 
alpha or scanning rhythms, is strongest when the 
brain is unoccupied, searching for a pattern, and 
weakest during purposeful thinking, eyes open 
studying pattern. The strength and type of rhythms 
vary between individuals. The EEG records of some 
primitive peoples are similar to those of a ten year 
old in our society. Variations occur with age. The 
alpha rhythms do not appear in children until they 
are about four years old." 

—Ian Sommerville, Flicker 

"Had a transcendental storm of colour visions 
today in the bus going to Marseilles. We ran through 
a long avenue of trees and I closed my eyes against 
the setting sun. An overwhelming flood of intensely 
bright colours exploded behind my eyelids: A multi¬ 
dimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through 
space. I was swept out of time. I was out in a world 
of infinite number. The vision stopped abruptly as 
we left the trees. Was that a vision? What happened 



DREAMACHINE • 53 


to me?" VIEWED WITH THE EYES CLOSED. 

—Extract from the Diary of Brion Gysin, 21/12/1958 THE DREAMACHINE. 


Department of Transport guidelines say that trees 
planted alongside motorways must not be of 
uniform height or distance apart. The reason for this 
is that drivers passing such trees for long periods 
experience pulses of light and changes in sound 
levels which can affect their concentration, and their 
ability to drive. Drowsiness, nausea and "motorway 
madness" can ensue. 

Tests in Britain and America have taken place 
investigating the effects of strobe lights and loud 
oscillating sound on humans. It has now been 
confirmed that this research has been put to use by 
some security agencies in the area of crowd control. 
It is believed that systems have been developed 
which can induce epileptic fits in approximately one 
in four people - which would be more than enough 
to confuse and disperse any demonstrating crowd. 

On February 15th 1960, Ian Sommerville, who had 
been recently inspired by Grey Walters' book The 
Living Brain', wrote a letter to Brion Gysin: "/ have 
made a simple flicker machine. You look at it with 
your eyes shut and the flicker plays over your eyelids. 
Visions start with a kaleidoscope of colours on a 
plane in front of the eyes 2nd gradually become 
more complex and beautiful, breaking like surf on a 
shore until whole patterns of colour are pounding to 
get in. After a while the visions were permanently 
behind my eyes and I was in the middle of the whole 
scene with limitless patterns being generated around 
me. There was an almost unbearable feeling of 
spatial movement for a while but it was well worth 
getting through, for I found that when it stopped I 
was high above the Earth in a universal blaze of 
glory. Afterwards I found that my perception of the 
world around me had increased very notably. All 
conceptions of being drugged or tired had dropped 
away..." 

Following Sommerville's later description of the 
'Flicker Machine', Gysin proceeded to make his own, 
adding to it an interior cylinder covered with a 
painting which he produced along the lines of his 
'flicker' experiences. (Indeed, much of Gysin's later 
painting sprang from his visions experienced in front 
of the machine.) Gysin wrote at the time: 

“Flicker may prove to be a valid instrument of 
practical psychology: some people see and others do 
not. The DREAMACHINE, with its patterns visible to 
the open eyes, induces people to see. The fluctuating 
elements of flickered design support the 
development of autonomous movies, intensely 
pleasurable and, possibly, instructive to the viewer. 

What is art? What is colour? What is vision? These 
old questions demand new answers when, in the 
light of the Dreamachine, one sees all of ancient and 
modern abstract art with eyes closed." 

IN THE HISTORY OF ART. IN THE HISTORY OF 
MAGIC AND SCIENCE. IN THE HISTORY OF THE 
WORLD. ONLY ONE OBJECT HAS BEEN MADE TO BE 



Dreamachines bring to a conclusion the period of 
kinetic invention in 'modern' painting and sculpture. 
The Dreamachine opens up a whole new era and a 
new area of vision... Interior Vision. 

Look into a Dreamachine, and look deep. Here you 
will actually SEE the fundamental order present in 
the physiology of the human brain. Your brain. 
Order imposed on chaos. Life imposed on matter. 
History and Mystery. 

“You are the artist when you approach a 
Dreamachine with your eyes closed. What the 
Dreamachine incites you to see is yours... your own. 
The brilliant interior visions you so suddenly see 
whirling around inside your head are produced by 
your own brain activity. These may not be your first 
glimpse of these dazzling lights and celestial 
coloured images. Dreamachines provide them only 
just as long as you choose to look into them. What 
you are seeing is perhaps a broader vision than you 
may have had before of your own incalculable 
treasure, the 'Jungian' store of symbols which we 
share with all normally constituted humanity. From 
this storehouse, artists and artisans have drawn the 
elements of art down the ages. In the rapid flux of 
images, you will immediately recognise crosses, stars, 
halos... woven patterns like pre-Columbian textiles 
and Islamic rugs... repetitive patterns on ceramic 





54 • RAPID EYE 1 


tile... in embroideries of all times... rapidly 
fluctuating serial images of abstract art... what look 
like endless expanses of fresh paint laid on with a 
Pllette knife." 

—Brion Gysin 



Brion Gysin using a Dreamachine 

The visions hollowed out of the Dreamachine 
usually start off with a rapid, and quickening, 
succession of abstract patterns. Often this transit of 
speeding images is followed by a clear perception of 
human faces. Humanoid figures and the apparent 
enactment of highly coloured events, or, as Gysin 
described them, "pseudo-events", carried out in time 
and in space. 

"Do you dream in colour?" 

—Bill Nelson 

The Dreamachine really IS just that. A dream 
machine. One person I know who exposed themself 
to its spinning glare came out of their semi- 
hallucinatory state talking seriously of visiting 
another planet, complete with aliens, cavepaintings 
and children. Some people have reported nightmares 
of sorts, but these, as all dreams experienced on the 
Machine, can be abruptly brought to an end by 
opening your eyes. 

"However you look into a Dreamachine, in a short 
time you will have acquired greater self knowledge, 
extended the limits of your vision, brightened your 
perception of a treasure you may not have known 
you own." 

—Brion Gysin 


"A light like a billion watt bulb floated up 
through the bars on my window. The Great White 
Light, the Ineffable Light the Tibetans are always 
talking about. I was transfixed, of course. I felt I 
could see it, naturally, because it ran straight up my 
optic nerve and through the disintegrating mass of 
my freshly re-awakened brain right down to my 
hypothalamus. My narrow cell began to revolve like 
an old 78 rpm turntable and the bars on my cell 
window on the spiral stairs to spin at between eight 
and thirteen flickers a second - the alpha rhythm of 
my soft old brainbox. An overwhelming flood of 
intensely bright abstract patterns in supernatural 
colours exploded somewhere behind my blind eyes 
where multi-dimensional kaleidoscopes whirled 
through endless space. Dazzling lights of unearthly 
brilliance and colour were developing in magnitude 
and complexity at great speed. Infinite acres of 
geometric wallpaper and rubbishy canvases by 
painters like Vasarely spread all around me. I was the 
pivot in the centre of developing worlds, giant 
galaxies hurtling through my own interior space at 
the speed of light. It all means that my EEG has not 
flattened out yet and the old brain is still working. 

I laugh uncontrollably... 

"Long experience of Gysin’s Dreamachine had 
taught me what to expect. I knew I could expect to 
see the symbols of all the great religions float free 
from this background noise to pass slowly and 
majestically across my field of vision. The cross in all 
its variations flashed as brightly for me as it had for 
Saul on his way to Damascus racing down an avenue 
of trees on the buckboard of his chariot as the sun 
set behind the tree trunks, producing flicker at his 
alpha rate. So he fell off his chariot and came to as 
Saint Paul, more's the pity for all of us. As I said 
before, all these religions ought to be taxed out of 
existence. Then the swastikas spinning clockwise and 
counter were followed by a magnificently jewelled 
Tibetan dorje, raised like a club or sceptre. The 
all-seeing eye of Isis floated by, eyeing me 
knowingly, succeeding by other eyes flashing fire. 
The crescent moon of Islam or the Blessed Virgin 
Mary and the blue hand of Fatima gave way to the 
symbols of forgotten religions or, who knows, those 
of other planets. I waited expectantly..." 

—Robert Anton Wilson 

Gysin was approached by various large companies, 
including the Dutch electronics giant. Philips, sniffing 
around the patenting possibilities of the machine 
which he and Sommerville had effectively invented 
out of nothing. "When I told them that it made 
people more awake", said Gysin later, "they lost 
interest. They were only interested in machines and 
drugs which made people go to sleep ." 

If the Dreamachine is real, a non-habit forming, 
simple spinning dreambox that is capable of 
inducing a drugiess high, why is it not available in 
your local department store? The answer would 
seem obvious. Look at the Financial Times and you 
will see that some of the biggest companies in the 




world are chemical giants, ICI, Bayer, Hoffman La 
Roche. Go to your GP and tell him that you are ill 
and what will you get? Drugs. Seek a path out of 
everyday trivial reality and what will you be offered? 
Drugs. You can only sell people one Dreamachine, 
one turntable, the occasional lightbulb. Drugs and 
their accompanying paraphernalia (and I include 
most doctors as an integral part of the 
paraphernalia) generate far more money in a drug 
dependent world. 

How do you go about getting a Dreamachine? 
Well, only a handful exist, made in metal cylindrical 
form and costing upwards of £500. But you can 
experiment by making your own. 

To build your own Dreamachine you need a sheet 
of 4-ply paper, 32 inches square, a record player that 
can revolve at 78 rpm (available from many 
secondhand shops for a few quid) and a hanging 
lightbulb. 

On the paper, draw three inch borders along the 
top and bottom, then carefully divide the rest into 
two inch squares. Cut out the cardboard templates, 
then trace them onto the paper in the positions 
illustrated. With great care and accuracy, then cut 
the holes out and connect the two ends together, 
thus forming a cylinder. Dangle a lightbulb down 
the middle of the cylinder and rest this on the 
turntable. Now, darken the rest of the room, play 
some repetitive but "unfocused" music, and spin. 

From now on, it's all free, it's all safe, it's legal - 
and it really works. 
































BECAUSE ARID COSMOS 



C. John Taylor 


The universe is so unimaginably large because Man 
exists. The universe had to bring Mankind into 
existence. The universe, in turn, exists only because 
Man brought it into being. Intelligent life, once it 
has evolved, will continue for all eternity, spread 
throughout the entire universe, and accumulate all 
the knowledge that there is to know. 

A translation of chants sung in Hindi, wafted 
through the summer air of Surrey from a distant 
manor house inhabited by people with bald heads 
and orange kaftans? The teachings of a secret 
Californian mushroom cult? What Jim Jones meant 
to say instead of 'bottoms up'? Actually, the 
statements made by a very serious theory proposed 
by very serious scientists. 

For many centuries it was taken as a fundamental 
law of the universe that Man was at its centre. 
Indeed, this notion played a very important role in 
Christian dogma, and anyone who thought other¬ 
wise was condemned as a heretic. The fact that the 
Earth and Man were at the hub of all things was 
obvious, wasn't it, when one could see the sun and 
the stars revolving around us? The only trouble was 
that, once the planets were identified and observed 
over a period of time, they were seen at certain 
points in their orbits to double back on themselves 
before turning once again and continuing in their 
previous direction. 

This, as Nicholas Copernicus realised in 1517, was 
a quirk caused by the way the planets, including 
Earth, in their different orbits and at their different 


speeds, revolved around the sun. It's hard to imagine 
today just what an earth-shattering realisation that 
must have been, and Copernicus was sensible 
enough to go no further than to suggest that things 
could be explained better if this model were used. It 
took another 100 years before Galileo was so foolish 
as to say that this was the way things really were, 
and that all observable phenomena could be 
explained in terms of mathematical laws, without 
reference to Man. He fell foul of the Inquisition for 
his troubles, but eventually the overwhelming 
weight of scientific evidence forced this view to 
become accepted. 

So, the idea took hold that mathematical laws 
defined and controlled everything in the universe, 
and reached its apogee in the work of Sir Isaac 
Newton, whose laws of motion and thermodynamics, 
and numerous mathematical formulations, are still 
fundamental to science today. Indeed, Newtonian 
mechanics, coupled with the reductionist 
philosophies of Cartesian Dualism, have today led to 
the generally held view that Man and Earth are no 
more than tiny cogs in the vast machine of the 
universe. When it's reckoned that there are some 
one hundred thousand million (one hundred billion 
in common parlance) stars in our galaxy alone, and 
about the same number of galaxies in the universe, 
it's hard to think otherwise. 

Only in the early decades of this century did the 
Cartesian/Newtonian paradigm begin to be 
challenged, through the work of Einstein and his 



BECAUSE AND COSMOS • 57 



theories of Relativity, and Nils Bohr in his brilliant Of the many startling ideas to emerge from 

formulation of Quantum Theory. These men and Relativity and Quantum Physics (time dilation, gravity 

their contemporaries working in the same fields lenses, black holes, a bewildering variety of 

began to realise that, in describing quantum sub-sub-sub-atomic particles, to name but a few) 

phenomena-events on a tiny, subatomic scale-the possibly the most startling of all is Heisenberg's 

old Newtonian system simply didn't hold water any Uncertainty Principle, which suggests, in simple 

more. New models were needed, and their terms, that nothing can be said to exist until it's 

implications would forever change Man's view of the observed. 

universe, and his place in it. The reason our everyday Electrons don't spin sedately around the nucleus, 
lives and philosophies seem to have been so little as Newtonian mechanics would have it, but rather 

affected is that, for general day to day occurrences, exist as a sort of haze, representing the probability 

the old systems still work perfectly adequately. of their being in any one place at any one time. 

Nevertheless, knowledge of subatomic structures has Depending on how it's observed, a subatomic unit 

led to such fundamentally influential devices as the can be said to exist as a particle, in other words a 

microchip and the atomic bomb - not to mention discrete package; or as a wave form. The more 

the Sinclair C5 and the keyring that squeaks when accurately a particle's momentum is measured, the 

you whistle for it. less precisely can its position be determined, and vice 






58 • RAPID EYE 1 


versa. Likewise, the more precisely the energy is 
measured in a quantum event, the less accurately can 
its time-span be determined, and vice versa. These 
limitations have nothing to do with the measuring 
techniques used, and their possible inaccuracies. They 
are part of the actual fabric of the world of 
subatomic particles, and are very precisely described 
mathematically in the Uncertainty Principle. If a 
particle's momentum is measured precisely, it 
actually does not have a well-defined position; and 
so on. As Fritjof Capra put it in his book 'The Tao Of 
Physics’: "In atomic physics, the scientist cannot play 
the role of the detached objective observer, but 
becomes involved in the world he observes to the 
extent that he influences the properties of the 
observed objects". Some scientists see the 
involvement of the observer as the most important 
feature in quantum theory, and have suggested 
replacing the word 'observer' by the word 
'participator'. Until the observer observes, subatomic 
particles can be said to exist anywhere, or not at all. 
Only in the act of observation is the particle brought 
into existence, so to speak. 

Clearly, then, early relativistic and quantum 
thinking led to what many scientists would regard as 
disturbingly metaphysical fulminations; but in the 
last decade or so, what has become known as the 
'Anthropic Principle' (from anthropos, Greek for 
'Man') has taken metaphysics based on hard science 
into a whole new league. 

Let's keep it fairly straightforward to start with... 
Why is the universe so huge? Well, the cosmological 
theory regarding the formation of the universe 
which is generally accepted these days is that of the 
'Big Bang', which suggests that the universe came 
into existence fifteen billion or so years ago as an 
infinitesimally small point of matter which formed 
spontaneously in a complete void. This point 
expanded at an unimaginable speed, with an 
incalculably huge explosive force, to the extent that 
the universe is still expanding today. All matter that 
now exists is believed to have come from that initial 
tiny smidgen of proto star stuff. 

When you take a moment to ponder it, this is an 
extremely bizarre idea in itself, and is not a million 
miles removed from the Judaeo-Christian belief in 
The Creation. It's indicative of the extent to which 
scientific thought has in a sense almost turned full 
circle since the days of Copernicus that a theory 
which could easily pass for a creation myth is so 
taken for granted today, and a fine irony indeed 
that such an idea has developed from Copernicus' 
'heretical' views on the motion of planets. Better 
still, the very word 'Revolution' in the sense of 
radical upheaval in the spheres of politics, religion, 
philosophy and so on, derives its use from the book 
'De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium’ written by 
Copernicus in 1543 to describe his ideas on planetary 
motion. One scientific 'revolution' has spawned 
many others, each one nowadays seemingly closer to 
a religious, or at least mystical weldgeist than its 
predecessor. Nevertheless, whereas in centuries gone 


by science and the church were inseparable, today 
any scientific theory that sounds rather similar to a 
religious or mystical notion has been arrived at, you 
can rest assured, via a very different avenue of 
thought and several centuries of divergent history. 

Anyway... assuming the Big Bang Theory to be 
correct (there's a lot of evidence around to suggest 
that it is), and assuming to be correct the inference 
that atoms accreted into stars, and that more and 
more complex atoms were manufactured in the 
nuclear furnaces at the centres of the stars, then 
finally, after billions of years, there were all the right 
atoms around to form life. As it's taken billions of 
years for the stars to form into galaxies, and to 
produce the atoms required for the formation of 
planets and the evolution of life, and as everything 
has been expanding at huge speeds for billions of 
years away from the original point of the Big Bang, 
the universe simply had to be immense before we 
could come into existence; otherwise there wouldn't 
have been sufficient time for us to have evolved. This 
means that there is a direct link between our 
existence and the size and age of the universe. The 
very fact that we exist dictates, in a certain sense, 
what the universe looks like today. This is what is 
known as the Weak Anthropic Principle. 

Few Scientists would disagree with this view today, 
because it's akin to saying that, on observing a 
molecule of water just beginning to oscillate at the 
edge of a pond, and knowing that a stone had been 
thrown into the pond at a certain point, it's possible 
to work out when the stone was thrown. The fact 
that the molecule has just started oscillating dictates 
when the stone was thrown in, and therefore when 
the ripples began which led to the molecule's 
oscillation. Nothing too startling there. The 
disagreement starts over whether the universe had 
to bring Mankind into existence. Scientists have 
never been noted for their ability to leave well 
alone, and one clever dick formulated the Strong 
Anthropic Principle, which states precisely that the 
sole function of the universe is to bring us into 
being. Before we dismiss this out of hand, let's 
consider the evidence. 

Life, most would agree, is a product of chance. As 
any Star Trek fan knows, we're carbon-based life 
forms, and there's plenty of carbon, oxygen, 
nitrogen and hydrogen around for us to use. But on 
Earth, these elements combined in a life-enhancing 
way, and not into vast quantities of methane and 
ammonia, as on some of the other planets. For us to 
have evolved on Earth, a very narrow temperature 
range was required, so the Sun needed to have a 
very stable temperature (it's got one) and the Earth 
needed to have a very clearly circular orbit (it's got 
one). Similarly, if the gravity here had been a little 
weaker, all the atmosphere would have dissipated 
into space (as on the Moon), and if it had been 
stronger everything would have been crushed under 
huge pressures on the surface of the planet (as on 
Jupiter). If there'd been no ozone layer, deadly 
ultraviolet radiation would have killed everything. 




BECAUSE AND COSMOS • 59 


All in all, we're pretty lucky to be here. 

But did all these factors somehow deliberately 
combine to produce us? An Evolutionist would argue 
that, on the contrary, we evolved to fit the 
conditions; but the amazing fact remains that, not 
only are conditions on Earth extremely finely 
balanced in favour of producing life, so are those in 
the entire universe. 

There are dozens of 'constants' in physics, covering 
every imaginable aspect of physical existence. These 
constants appear to be so throughout the universe, 
and absolutely dictate its structure and appearance. 
The staggering fact, however, is that they interlock 
so precisely that if they were knocked out of 
equilibrium only slightly, there would be no 
universe. If one of the constants were changed just 
a few percent in one direction, the stars would burn 
out in a million years, rather than billions, making 
the evolution of life impossible. Change the constant 
a few percent in the other direction, and no 
elements heavier than helium would form, again 
ruling out life completely. Change the relative mass 
of the proton and the neutron by a mere fraction of 
a percent, and atoms would be unstable, meaning 
nothing but utter chaos. Had the Big Bang been 
slightly less powerful, it would have collapsed in on 
itself long before the heavier elements had been 
formed, and if it had been a little more powerful, 
matter would have been flung apart at too great a 
rate for heavier elements to ever have been formed 
in the first place. 

Again, this is all widely agreed upon today - but 
why should Man hold such a privileged place in the 
scheme of things? Couldn't the size and age of the 
universe, and all the above, be inferred by looking at 
any animal on Earth? Proponents of the Strong 
Anthropic Principle would argue that the 
fundamental difference lies in the fact that Man is 
alone in understanding the laws of the universe, and 
is therefore somehow inextricably interwoven with 
them. This sounds a trifle glib, vague and 
unscientific, but let's persist. 

In the 1950s the astronomer Fred Hoyle (since 
knighted for his many achievements) was working 
out just how the atoms in stars combined to produce 
the elements required for the formation of life. Stars 
are made up mostly of hydrogen and helium, and for 
carbon to be produced three helium nuclei have to 
collide and combine. The chances of this happening 
are very slim, but the strange thing is that, once two 
helium nuclei have combined, the resultant mass 
somehow makes itself much more attractive to a 
third helium nucleus, so immensely increasing the 
likelihood of a carbon atom being formed. As far as 
is known, this process is unique in the whole of 
nature, and it just happens that it has enabled 
enough carbon to be formed for our bodies to exist. 
And that's not all. If another helium nucleus hits the 
carbon atom, oxygen is formed; but in that case, why 
is there enough carbon left? It transpires that the 
oxygen-forming reaction is so far out of kilter with 
the energy requirements that it's quite unstable, and 


only half these collisions produce oxygen. Hoyle was 
so struck by all this that he was moved to say: "A 
common sense interpretation of the facts suggests 
that a superintendent has monkeyed with physics, as 
well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no 
blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do 
not believe that any physicist who examined the 
evidence could fail to draw the inference that the 
laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately 
designed with regard to the consequences they 
produce inside stars". Remember, this is a world- 
renowned scientist speaking. Perhaps the Strong 
Anthropic Principle doesn't sound so far-fetched 
after all. 

Once again, though, if the conditions for life are 
so propitious, why should such cosmic jiggery pokery 
favour Man to the exclusion of vast legions of other 
life forms which should have prospered in the same 
conditions throughout the universe? And for that 
matter, how do we know there aren't billions of 
other planets teeming with life anyway? The fact is 
that we don't, but advocates of the Strong Anthropic 
Principle argue that, assuming other life forms would 
be anything like ourselves, in that they have an 
instinct to explore and colonise, and given that it's 
fantastically improbable that we should be the most 
advanced race in the universe if there really are 
billions of others, we've seen no hard evidence 
whatsoever of life on other worlds, either in the 
form of inexplicably non-random emissions from 
space, or earthly visits. 

You may find the assumption of human instincts in 
alien life forms rather unjustified and arrogant, and 
may argue that perhaps we're too thick to see the 
evidence for alien life right in front of our noses, or 
that any interstellar travellers who might happen to 
drop by our third stone from the sun would be so 
advanced that they could easily hide their presence 
from us if they wanted to. You may also insist that 
there's ample evidence for visitations, citing Erich 
von Daniken, Men in Black, abduction experiences, 
photographs of mysterious objects and so on; but 
von Daniken has long ago been thoroughly 
discredited, hardly any UFO pictures have stood up 
to rigorous analysis, and the vast majority of close 
encounter experiences can be ascribed to processes 
rather more intracerebral than extraterrestrial. All 
but a tiny percentage of UFO experiences can be put 
down to one or a combination of the following: 
wilful deception, self-deception, wishful thinking, 
unusual atmospheric conditions, car and aeroplane 
lights, good old planet Venus, dream and trance-like 
states, and Jungian 'mandala archetype' theories. 
The fact that a very small number of encounter and 
Men in Black experiences are very strange and 
sometimes disturbing, and a few photographs defy 
all attempts at rational analysis, does not by a long 
chalk prove the existence of life on other planets. 
Happily for those who hope life does exist 
throughout the universe, though, it can never be 
proven that earth is alone in being inhabited. 

So, having satisfied themselves, albeit somewhat 




60 • RAPID EYE 1 


controversially, that life exists on Earth and nowhere 
else. Strong Anthropicists would go on to say that, 
even though everything tends to be balanced in our 
favour, we still only just made it. It's estimated that 
the Sun has already used up half its available source 
of hydrogen, and therefore if its rate of burning had 
been just twice as fast (a very real possibility in 
cosmological terms) we wouldn't be here at all, 
because the Sun would have burnt out before we 
had a chance to evolve. Although many planets may 
have nearly all the right conditions for giving rise to 
intelligent life, in practice few, if any, may have 
achieved it. The universe may, after all, have given 
rise to life on Earth alone. We in turn are unique on 
Earth because we understand the laws of physics, 
and Anthropic commentators read great significance 
into the fact that, merely by using physical systems 
which observe the laws of nature, we are able to 
discover those laws of nature. If this is no 
coincidence, and had to be so, it is argued that we 
have a very significant place in the universe indeed. 

Time for a little experiment, the significance of 
which will become apparent later. 

Fig. 1 shows a laser emitting a beam of pure light, 
of one wavelength. This passes through a semi- 
silvered mirror which has the effect of splitting the 
beam in two. Half the photons which carry the light 
energy are reflected to Mirror 1, and the other half 
pass straight through to Mirror 2. These beams are in 
turn reflected, to be detected by Screen 1 and Screen 
2 respectively. Now, if a second beam-splitter is 
inserted in the apparatus at the point where the two 
photon beams cross (see fig. 2) the beams hitting the 
screens are mixtures of photons from both paths. 
The second beam-splitter can then be positioned so 
that interference occurs - in other words, the two 
recombined paths of photons travelling towards one 
screen cancel each other out because the troughs of 
their 'wave' forms exactly coincide with the peaks, 
and the beams to the other screen reinforce, because 
the troughs coincide with troughs, and the peaks 
coincide with peaks. Let's say the second-beam 
splitter is so positioned that interference occurs in 
the beam travelling towards Screen 2 (it would work 
just as well the other way). No photons will reach 
Screen 2, and a steady stream will reach Screen 1. 

Now if we dim the laser so that only one photon 
passes through the apparatus at a time, with the 
second beam-splitter still positioned to cause 
interference, we would expect each screen to be 
struck by 50% of the photons, because each photon 
could travel any way through the apparatus. Surely 
no interference could take place, because a photon 
can't interfere with itself. In fact, staggering though 
it seems. Screen 1 receives every single photon that's 
emitted. Interference occurs even with one individual 
photon, which means that in some mysterious way 
each photon must go through the apparatus all 
possible ways at once. But how can it possibly do 
this? Where can each photon be said to be in the 
time after it leaves the laser and before it hits the 
screen? Nils Bohr described the area between the 


light source and the screen as a kind of smoky 
dragon, with its tail at the light source and its mouth 
at the screen, but a nebulous and insubstantial body 
in between. He believed it was pointless to discuss 
what the photon was 'doing' while in the apparatus. 

It is perfectly possible, in fact, to observe the 
photon in the apparatus by moving a screen in, but 
in so doing you destroy the original experiment 
because now no interference can take place. With 
interference, it's impossible to observe the photon as 
it passes through the apparatus, so within the 
apparatus the photon cannot be said to exist at all, 
in any meaningful sense. We bring it into existence 
when we observe it on the screen. 

As you may have realised, the above is an example 
of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle in all its 
perplexing glory, and this is taken as the starting 
point (yes, the starting point) for what is known as 
the Participatory Anthropic Principle. The chain of 
thought goes something like this: on a subatomic 
scale, quantum phenomena are only brought into 
existence by observation; but the entire universe is 
made up of nothing but a vast multiplicity of 
quantum events, interacting on a monumental scale. 
Therefore, why shouldn't the principle be extended 
to the universe as a whole? Do we need any other 
explanatory device for the whole of the cosmos? If 
not, then the universe has been brought into being 
by countless acts of observation, by all the observers 
who have ever existed, exist now, and will ever exist 
in the future. No other explanation is needed for the 
existence of the entire universe, even through the 
past to the Big Bang itself. 

It's difficult enough to swallow this thesis even to 
account for the present and the future, but how on 
earth could the past be affected by our 
observations? The Anthropicists can even resolve this 
little teaser, but before they get a chance a few basic 
explanations are called for. 

A light year is not a measure of time, but a 
measure of distance. It's the distance light travels in 
one year, which comes to something in the region of 
5,865,696,000,000 miles (9,385,113,600,000 km). 
Enormous galactic and intergalactic distances are 
measured with the aid of the Doppler Shift 
technique. Its not important to go into the 
mechanism of the Doppler Effect here, but suffice it 
to say that, the greater the speed at which an object 
is receding from the observer, the greater the 
spectrum of the light it emits appears to have been 
shifted towards the red end. All objects recede from 
all others in the ever-expanding universe of the Big 
Bang, and Hubble's Law states that the greater the 
red shift of an object, and therefore the greater the 
speed at which it's receding from us, the further 
away it is. There's some controversy as to whether 
Hubble's Law holds for large red shifts, but let's 
leave that to the astronomers. All anyone can ever 
do in trying to make sense of the world is to go by 
the best knowledge available at the time. The whole 
of science revolves around this concept. 

Quasars ('quasi-stellar objects') are star-like bodies 




BECAUSE AND COSMOS • 61 


Fig. 1 


Fig. 2 


Screen 2 



Light 

Scource 


Screen 2 


Beam 
Splitter 2 


\ 

/ 

_ N \. Minor 1 

\ 



\ 




/j 


Minor 2 

\ 

Beam 



Splitter 1 


Light 

Source 



Quasar 


which appear to be emitting energy of galaxy-like 
proportions, and are believed to be the most distant 
objects yet observed. Using Hubble's Law, they've 
been 'measured' at up to something like 15 billion 
light years away, a distance which is getting on for 
90,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles (or 144,400,000, 
000,000,000,000,000 km). This means, of course, that 
they existed about 15 billion years ago, because the 
light took that long to reach us. When we observe 
them, therefore, we're looking billions of years into 
the past, to the early days of the universe. 

Time for the promised teaser resolution. An 
astronomer by the name of Alan Stockton took a 
digital picture of two quasars close together. Because 
they appeared to be so close, and looked very 
similar, he suspected that they were actually the 


Quasar 


images of one and the same quasar whose light had 
been partly focused by an intervening galaxy acting 
as a gravity lens. (In Einsteinian Relativity, all masses 
warp the space-time continuum, and enormous 
masses like galaxies warp it to such a degree that 
light rays are deflected considerably. A huge mass, 
therefore, can act as a gigantic lens, with the 
warping effects of its associated gravity on 
space-time taking the place of the more familiar 
refractive properties of the glass in a conventional 
lens.) By electronic means Stockton subtracted the 
image of one quasar from the other, and sure 
enough the image of a galaxy appeared. It turned 
out that the galaxy was about a quarter of the way 
from the Earth to the quasar, and was bending light 
rays from the quasar that had spread 50,000 light 






62 • RAPID EYE 1 



A small sample from a map of the brightest galaxies; each square is a galaxy containing billions of stars. 
(From a telescopic map by Donald Shane & Carl Wirtanen, Lick Observatory, California. 


years apart, bringing them almost back together by and do a thought experiment, a technique which is 

the time they reached Earth, so producing two popular with scientists and which can produce results 

images of the same quasar (see fig. 3). every bit as valid as the real thing. The light source 

Now let's go back to the beam-splitting apparatus, is now the quasar, whose light radiates in all 




BECAUSE AND COSMOS • 63 


directions so there's no need for the first beam¬ 
splitter. The galaxy takes the place of the mirrors 
because, in its capacity as a gravity lens, it has the 
same effect of crossing the beams of photons from 
the quasar. The screens are placed as before. (See 
fig. 4). Now assume that the quasar is so faint that 
only one photon is emitted at a time. Intuitively we 
feel that, billions of years ago, each photon chose 
one of two possible tracks around the galaxy, and 
indeed over a period of time half the photons hit 
one screen, and half the other. Now insert the other 
beam-splitter to cause interference as before. The 
principles are identical, so again no photons hit 
Screen 2. But what could have happened to all those 
photons which apparently set off on their journeys 
billions of years ago? Only one explanation fits, and 
that's given by Bohr's comments on the previous 
experiment. The ancient light showing the distant 
quasar didn't exist until the experiment was carried 
out. In other words, the quasar itself didn't exist 
billions of years ago until the light emitted from it 
was observed; and what holds true for the quasar 
holds for the entire universe. Our observation has 
had a retrospective effect on events in the distant 
past of the universe. 

Another sweet irony here: Rene Descartes' most 
famous saying was "I think, therefore I am". In the 
avowedly non-Cartesian world of Quantum Physics, 
Relativity and the Anthropic Principle, we seem to 
have arrived at the not altogether dissimilar phrase: 
“I observe it, therefore it is". But does this mean 
that, whenever we observe a star or galaxy for the 
first time, it suddenly pops into to existence in the 
distant past? Maybe. The idea of the conservation of 
mass and energy is very Newtonian anyway, and 
even the Big Bang Theory talks about matter 
suddenly appearing out of nowhere, so who's to say 
that it doesn't happen all the time? And what about 
our apparently mystical understanding of the laws of 
physics? Perhaps we can decipher them so well 
because, in observing the universe on the 
microcosmic and macrocosmic scale, we actually 
impose our own laws on physical phenomena when 
our observation brings them into existence. Maybe 
we make up our own laws; and maybe there are 
some we still can't fathom because they were 
retrospectively brought into existence by future 
astronomer observers who are much more advanced 
than we are, and are therefore able to impose much 
more complex laws on the universe. And perhaps if 
a future astronomer observes a massive black hole in 
the vicinity of our solar system, we'll all be sucked 
into oblivion, and won't have to worry about it any 
more. 

To pick up the thread again, the Participatory 
Anthropic Principle's view of the universe makes it a 
kind of self-perpetuating loop. A snake biting its 
own tail... The Big Bang takes place, stars and 
planets develop, life begins, the universe is observed 
further and further into the past - and as such the 
distant past is projected from the far future. The 
observer at the end of time brings all the past into 


existence. 

So what happens if all life is extinguished, if there 
is no observer at the end of time? The whole 
universe will cease to exist, and, what's more, cease 
to ever have existed. How to account for this? Well, 
extending the Participatory Anthropic Principle: if we 
exist now, it must mean that there will always be a 
future observer to bring us into existence. This is the 
essence of the Final Anthropic Principle, which states 
very modestly that, once intelligent life exists, it will 
continue to exist until the end of time, and spread 
throughout the entire universe. If organic life isn't 
up to the task, intelligent self-reproducing machines 
will do instead. Life, after all, can be described 
simply as a sum of knowledge, of many parts of a 
program working in unison. It's not the body that’s 
important, it's the program, in whatever form it's 
carried. All our knowledge, all our culture, all that is 
the essence of our intelligent existence, can be 
carried throughout the universe by such machines, 
thus perpetuating life forever, and accumulating all 
the knowledge that there is to know, and observing 
all that there is to observe, until the end of time. 

Perhaps the very universe itself is a single life form, 
programmed for total self-knowledge. Perhaps the 
final piece in the jigsaw of complete knowledge will 
be the observation of the Big Bang itself, by the 
observer at the end of time. Perhaps at that point 
the universe will wink quietly out of existence. And 
perhaps, then, an infinitesimally small point of 
matter will form spontaneously in the void... And if 
you think that all sounds rather pointless, think 
about how it compares to your own life. 

Many of the above ideas bear striking similarities 
to the Hindu belief in the Dance of Shiva, in which 
the god Shiva brings the universe into existence by 
his dancing. When he stops dancing (observing?), the 
universe ceases to exist. His dance takes place over 
an enormous length of time, and follows cycles, 
wherein the universe is forever renewed, to live its 
life over and over again. 

Christians, too, can draw comfort of sorts from the 
above. They're taught that God has always existed, 
and will always exist, that he is omniscient and 
omnipotent. This is a very difficult concept to grasp, 
but perhaps if the universe is thought of as a self- 
perpetuating loop, things become a little clearer. The 
thought may not greatly appeal to Christians, but is 
God the Observer at the End of Time? Is God an 
unimaginably large number of intelligent machines 
spread throughout the universe? Is God, after all, the 
Son of Man? 

The Anthropic Principle makes considerable 
assumptions, but has an enormous number of 
religious and metaphysical ramifications, only a few 
of which have been touched on here. The more you 
think about it, the more complex it becomes. It's not 
overstating the case to say that it represents a 
revolution in scientific thought, but will it stand the 
test of time? Perhaps only Time itself will tell. 




THE VIDEODROME 

The Thing In Room 101 


Mark Downham 


Situationism. A sixties political dada that identified and described the Society of the 
'Spectacle' and encouraged an altered perception to deal with it. Twenty-five years 
after the Student riots that it provoked, Mark Downham discovers that the 
Spectacle has absorbed the Situationists' original revolutionary perception and re¬ 
sequenced itself to absorb and 'recuperate' any such threats. The Spectacle is 
Control, the experience of a false perception of reality. We are children of the 
Videodrome, and nobody owns Death TV. 


Programming Phenomena 

“You asked me once," said O'Blivion, “what was in 
Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer 
already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in 
Room 101 is the worst thing in the world... The 
Videodrome. “ 

"More and more people these days are no longer 
gullible, they know everything is false." 

—Michel Prigent 

Video-spectacular life revolves around twin self¬ 
reflexive switches that activate us: Control (Authority 
and Obedience) and Behaviour (Production and 
Consumption). The Videodrome is the enigma of the 
thing: not simply as object and commodity, but as 
pure object and absolute commodity. The 
Videodrome is the point where the image is made 
more concrete than the commodity. The 'Spectacle' 
now has a new organization of appearances. That is. 


VIDEO DNA LIFE, the hyperreal. More deadly than 
death, a vampiric carnage of virulent description. It 
seems to move with intelligence and purpose. 
Bending sound as the electron gun in the Cathode 
Ray tube scans the frequencies that put your brain in 
the alpha wave state, the relaxed state; and this 
totalitarian, electronic Oceania dredges the oceans of 
your subconscious in preparation for the embedding. 

The "Spectacle" is going through an evolutionary 
jump and is becoming more than the facility with 
which images can be detached and alienated from 
their sources and reorganised for representation in 
accord with initial stages of the Spectacle; where 
everything that was once directly experienced has 
already shifted into its own representation. The 
Spectacle has always been more than just a collection 
of images; and the Spectacular Videodrome is much 
more than a social relation among people mediated 
by images, more than Capital to such a degree of 



VIDEODROME: DEATH TV • 65 


accumulation that it becomes an image. It is a VIDEO 
DNA GESTALT. 

The Videodrome is debordment, overflow; it is 
hypervisibility: here even terrorism is a neurosis-the 
violence of a society without secrets; totally media- 
transparent, a spectacular gesture from the see- 
through, silent age. 

In the Videodrome there is nowhere to hide. There 
are only terminals, and we are the terminals for our 
alienated experiences - the spectacle of our deepest 
secret fears. It's so much television that it isn't 
television at all - it's a monstrous double. The ecstasy 
of too much, of more X than X, of televised 
videodrome image overload (T.V.O.D.), spectacular 
excess. Just when you thought it was safe to switch 
your television back on, you get bombarded with 
televised videodrome image overload - the Cathode 
Ray tube sprays its message at you, point-blank, you 
haven't got a chance. Here they come, subliminal 
spectacular spores! Reminding you as they peel back 
your skin to access, that the television screen is the 
retina of the mind's eye, the manipulator of the 
imagination and the invader of the subconscious. 
The Videodrome is your deepest secret fears played 
back to you, come back to plague you. The 
Videodrome is the destruction of the autonomous 
imagination. Every person's subconscious contains 
the total collective unconscious, which is recuperated 
by the Spectacular Videodrome into the 
Communications Landscape - that inscape, that 
interzone of phenomena, evolution, revolution and 
'everyday life'. The hyperreal Videodrome is growing 
and mutating so that, in effect, 'reality' no longer 
exists autonomously. 

The television screen is like the cerebral cortex and 
they are aspects of each other - aerials in the ether, 
motes in the eye, and so whatever manifests itself on 
the television screen emerges as raw experience for 
those who watch it, as it watches them. Therefore 
television is an expression of VIDEO DNA Spectacular 
reality; 'reality' only as it is mediated through the 
Videodrome, 1,000 centuries in the worst place in 
the world, Room 101, dystopia revisited and looped 
again and again. The video-DNA mind which is 
building its own secrets into the world manipulates 
everyone through dominant power-elite conspiracies, 
1984 Leviathan bureaucracies, labyrinthine media 
realities, the military/industrial state complex, the 
cycle of production and consumption. It is the 
materialised trinity of the State, the Commodity, and 
the serried, serial ranks of the mass Media. For when 
you perceive the world through spectacular 
mediations, you perceive the superimposed shape of 
the cathode ray tube on your own cerebral cortex; 
valves, filaments, silicon chips on your ganglia. The 
Spectacle invades your mind, your subconscious in 
the communications landscape... through endless 
repetition, replication and insertions. 

To experience this, to try to understand it and 
begin to decode it is to confront and resist the false 
realisations (revelations, perhaps) flooding towards 
you; released from some video-genetic storage unit 


in the Video-DNA Spectacle. It tells you that all the 
photonic video-DNA molecules in the Spectacle are, 
on some subliminal subatomic level, working in 
collaboration and always have been. They are 
spectacular-atomic structures, but ultimately they are 
forms of information. A vast, interconnected web of 
information, like the cells in a human brain or the 
mass media of print, billboards, sound, vision, media 
images, disinformation, propaganda, the silicon chips 
in a TV set... Any single molecule is, of course, 
nothing more than a molecule; but all the Video- 
DNA, taken as Gestalt, constitutes the Spectacular 
Videodrome itself, an ordered, evolving unity - of 
miseries. 

Here, At The Event Horizon 

“There is an immense quantity of important 
contemporary phenomena that remains completely 
unchallenged - to be realistic, completely unnoticed 
by radical critique." 

—Chris Shutes 

The Videodrome: Video-spectacular knowledge is 
capital intensified knowledge - capital moving 
beyond its accumulation into an image - an evolving 
video simulacrum of itself, pure anti-matter. This 
process has caused perceptions of reality to go 
through changes, adjustments, they are once again 
being re-distorted by the insertion of a vast new 
mediational system into an already multi-plexed, 
anti-historically accumulated maze. 

In the context of these changes, the relationship of 
information to spectacular society and alienated 
nature has to be rethought - a new praxis is needed. 
It is clear that the phenomenon of self-organisation 
is not limited to living matter, but also occurs in 
certain energy, chemical, social, 'material' and 
meta-image geist systems which contain similar 
dynamic quantum properties. The Spectacular 
Videodrome is one of these systems. It releases a 
form of video DNA electromagnetic pulse or field; 
and everything in post modernity is drawn into its 
event horizon and then goes into the Spectacle. All 
these systems are 'dissipative structures' in that they 
break down other systems in the process of 
metabolism or recuperation, so creating only the 
appearance of change. The frequencies, falsely 
revelatory states of stimulus, production and 
consumption released by these Spectacular feeding 
frenzies come at you through subliminal visual and 
sonic Pavlovian triggers, for which there is no 
defence (some always get through in this hypnotic 
triggering siren song). The Spectacular control 
implants are usually superficial grafts, but the 
general self-valorised confusion that is generated by 
one's false contestations makes any conscious, 
ritualistic negation or refusal superficial and 
counterfeitist, because of the prigoginic levels of 
complexity involved - since the Spectacular 
turbulence of phenomena, event and pre-situation 
immediately congeal and petrify into dead 
pre-history (history beginning with its self- 




66 • RAPID EYE 1 



realisation). now interphasing with the nervous system through 

The components of the Videodrome are a variety of devices, becoming day by day more 

mainframes, minis, micros and personal computers, fused and symbiotic. It can be seen most clearly in 

TV sets, printers, copiers, automated cashpoints, the medical data bases, military experiments at 

automatons, point-of-sale sensors, aerials, Porton Down, diagnostic and treatment machines 

surveillance technology, fibre optic wires, hackers, buzzing in BUPA hospitals. The video DNA world is 

bio and silicon chips, software, hardcore, tapes, discs, becoming wired-up to the brain nerve complex with 

diagnostic equipment - a babble, babel, Babylon of the invention of new sensing devices and psycho- 

Spectacularly appropriated languages, ju-ju, perceptual systems. The Spectacle is scrambling and 

telephones, modems, telexes, relays, radio, cable, re-sequencing itself with new simultaneities and 

satellites, the semaphore of social communications juxtapositions. There are also recombinant changes 

systems, visual body languages, the shifts of Capital going on with the rise of multi-nationals, artificial 

through the electronic plasma of the video DNA. The intelligence, cyber space and gene programmes... 

terrain has really changed since The Society of the 

Spectacle' (DeBord). It's pure programming "Spectacular commodity society is a phase in modern 

phenomena and information now. Therefore it is no capitalism and it is more of a misery than a 

longer merely a question of the subversion of social conspiracy." 

relations or of making radical changes in ' everyday —Michel Prigent 

life' (Vaneigem). Everything is being drawn, inch by 

inch, towards the new spectacular event horizon, the ...it's now possible to alter the genetic code with a 

information Babylon, the image syndrome, THE DNA virus which works parasitically by inserting its genetic 

VIDEODROME. The technology of the Videodrome is code into the nucleus of a cell so that the cell starts 







VIDEODROME: DEATH TV • 67 



using the code to make more viruses. It can be 
programmed, like video DNA, to wait. Instead of 
immediately making more viruses, the cell just 
incorporates the viral DNA codes into its own, 
making it go into hibernation like a control- 
imperative inserted trigger, and then, 5 or 10 years 
later, triggered into pre-coded action. It's very 
simple, and it seems that in this way the Videodrome 
is attempting to recuperate everyone by their own 
video-genetic codes... 

"Recombinant DNA for profit or genetic engineering 
is finding new uses in production, while the growing 
influence of psychobiology promises greater social 
control..." 

—Phil Mailer 

The struggle purely over the MASS of production, 
'the dignity of labour', the industrial workers of the 
world, most elements at Wapping, are all pre-history. 
A history lost or virally infiltrated by the miseries of 
the decomposition of unions, leftism, and the 
division of labour. The necessity of the Videodrome 
is to translate all living forms into non-living forms, 
to simulate events and natural processes, to chart 
interactions and simulate these towards a total 
environment. Hegel called this phenomenon ’the 
cunning of reason' - which means the sum total of 
alienated human consciousness as hardcore 
'Spectacle' rising out of the real; permeated with the 
(historical) real but grown to such fantastic, 
grotesque and mutated proportions through the 
(Mass Media Inc.) 'information videodrome', that it 
is itself the dominant false reality; making the 
Spectacle an (idiot) 'intelligence' on the fifth 
prigoginic level of complexity - a loosely 
autonomous gestalt. 

"The Spectacle is sustained not by images produced 
by the media, but by US when we reproduce these 
images in our daily life - which, in turn, are reported 
by the media as examples of reality...a mass media 
allows for the mass dissemination of illusions." 

—Larry Law 

"When the real world changes into simple images, 
simple images become real things and effectiveness 
motivations of a hypnotic behaviour." 

—Guy Debord 

"Most people will tell you that they aren't fooled by 
advertising and that they don’t believe all they read 
in the newspapers or see on the television. We 
should not cynically dismiss these claims - even when 
we see them continue to uncritically consume the 
advertised products, read the newspapers and watch 
television - to do so would be to totally mis¬ 
understand the nature of propaganda in spectacular 
society." 

—Larry Law 

The Videodrome is assisted and developed by a 




68 • RAPID EYE 1 


legion of collaborators - psychologists, psychopaths, 
psychotherapists, sociologists, pop-politico 
revolutionaries, assassins, analysts, encoders, 
cryptographers, advertisers, consultants, booksellers, 
situationists, surrealists, historians, Leninites, 
economists, critics, mystics, myth makers, incoherent 
intellectuals, imagified proletarians, and the queue 
waiting to join the list. 

“The modernisation of the old world advances 
implacably behind the dissimulations of the spectacle 
of economic decomposition...a pseudo- dialogue that 
dominates the relations of alienated daily life and 
the pseudo-communication that develops there: the 
deluge of words that covers every single aspect of 
'reality'." 

—William Spencer 

But Marx, for instance, realised that 'cunning of 
history', whereby dialectical counterblasts such as 
'commodity' are possible, because 'material' social 
history (which is realised in commodities or 
assemblies) is making its own jump. 

"These organisations! These terms! Left/Right/Social 
Democratic/Trotskyist/Marxist/Leninist/Anarchist are 
now totally inadequate both theoretically and 
practically to deal with what is different in the 
historically unprecedented situation which is now 
developing in the U.K." 

—Dave Wise 

An international network of hackers is growing; 
whole nations can be ripped off - their repressive 
economies collapsed - since their total economies 
can be simulated and displayed on some electronic 
input/output device - and be more real than the real 
thing. 

National boundaries are becoming porous and 
eroding - everywhere can be anywhere in the 
Videodrome, as transnational data-flows penetrate 
and disrupt borders. Nations and their security 
systems become illusions as multi-national enterprises 
buy pieces of the globe, industrial espionage and 
sabotage escalate and hackers loot at random like 
international vandals, giving the informational 
process some concrete results. Wapping was another 
sign of the jump of history, of these changes: away 
from the misery of unions (which are a union of 
miseries) towards the explosive emergence of 
commodity or assembly; which involves individuals 
from every background combining together into a 
community geist/gestalt - it is there in every strike, 
riot, act of sabotage, hack-in, intervention, wildcat 
action, occupation - every situation... the spirit won’t 
be denied. 

"A change in history is always, in the last analysis, 
brought about by a change in ideas; even though a 
change in ideas might bring into play material forces 
which reinforced that change, or have material 
consequences which are instrumental in realising 


that change, or have material consequences far 
beyond what we imagined ." 

—The Pleasure Tendency 

Primordial Videodrome - Get Ready, Here Come The 
Subliminals! 

"The totally inhuman reality of the commodity as a 
social relation constantly gains in cohesion, tends 
towards the point of absolute reification of the 
world. ’’ 

—Daniel Denevert 

“All human activity has become subordinate to the 
production and consumption of commodities." 

—Michel Prigent 

The Videodrome is where the medium and the 
message merge, but there has been a divorce 
between sight and insight with the dissolution of 
T.V.O.D. into life, and the dissolution of life into 
T.V.O.D. We live in the video DNA hyperreal, in a 
universe everywhere strangely similar to the original 
- here things are duplicated by their own 
appearance, their double - the materialised image. 
The Videodrome is the realisation of the image of 
Leviathan in Hobbes; a Megaman composed of a vast 
congregation of alienated individuals. Here at the 
event horizon the distinctions between cause and 
effect, between active and passive, between subject 
and object, between ends and means, between the 
real and the hyperreal converge - held in replicate in 
video DNA. 

"The management 'allows' us to consume to the 
rhythm of the muzak." 

—Nick Brandt 

"A subject is presented with a set of choices. They 
are all bad. Under the circumstances the subject 
consciously chooses what he or she feels is the lesser 
evil. The aim of the controller is to keep the tension 
surrounding the choice at a high level, so that no 
alternative choices outside those proposed are 
offered or perceived. It is the equivalent of locking 
someone in a mental box, the perfect controlled 
environment. Once one such choice is made, the next 
set of 'choices' can be presented. As long as the 
choices are regulated - that is the subject or subject 
population perceives that it has only the set of 
choices presented - the outcome is also regulated... 
it is important that you - the victim - feel that there 
is no cause and effect in this world, simply 
information. From here on in there will be no release 
from the tension, only an escalating series of crises... 
(Production, Consumption, Simulation, Excitation, 
Stimulation, Craving, Production, Consumption ...)" 

—Lonnie Wolfe 

"We did as we were told to do..." 

—Milgram's 37 
at the Chicago Institute of Psychology 




VIDEODROME: DEATH TV • 69 


Advertisements are part of the video DNA (idiot 
sentient) demiurge; another aspect of the video DNA 
hyperreal. The spectacular-cultural forces cum 
spectacular commodity field moulding and reflecting 
the alienations of our daily lives today in the 
Spectacle or primordial Videodrome. In the 
Videodrome, production and consumption are 
changing to the proteinic moment of connections, 
contact, feedback, and the generalised interface that 
goes with spectacular totality. Television increasingly 
uses soundtrack mixes of fluids, electronics, 
heartbeats, relays and breathing. The Videodrome 
tries to make the complexity of its control network 
too difficult for our minds to grasp - this leads to 
conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories applied to 
advancing technologies lead to negative, paranoid 
technophobia. 

“Confusion, or deliberately manoeuvring so as to 
create it, has for a long time been the practice of 
States when they fear a coming confrontation." 

—Lou Forsyth 

Advertisements are everywhere. They have become 
embedded in the social environment and their 
constant presence is a reinforcement and an 
inevitable part of everyone's daily survival. Even if 
you block out most forms of media stimuli trying to 
implant post-hypnotic suggestions into your mind; 
the images, the spectacular spores posted all over 
our environment are inescapable. Pervading all 
media, limited to none, advertising forms a vast 
superluminal topography and subliminalised 
superstructure, like social pheromones - an 
Auschwitz of consumption, in which work makes you 
free... to consume. 

Obviously adverts as part of the spectacular- 
commodity field have the initial function to sell 
things to us, to get us to consume, but as part of the 
Spectacular Videodrome they have a deeper 
function. Adverts displace art, religion and the 
spectacle of revolt. They create structures of 
subliminal meaning, psycho ideologies which trigger 
and reinforce the dominant ideology. Advertisements 
implant more than just consumption; they are part 
of a structure in which objects and people are 
interchangeable, they sell us ourselves in Room 101. 
Advertisements are simple videodrome ideologies 
that can incorporate anything (and some people in 
the marginal 'pop muzak' spectacle can't sign up 
quick enough), even reabsorb criticism of themselves, 
because they are dissipative structures and because 
they refer to it devoid of content. The whole 
spectacular-commodity system of advertising is part 
of the great recuperator: The Videodrome. It will 
work on any material at all, hollowing out historical 
meaning from structures and suspending them in 
timeless self-reflexive inertia... But it can be negated 
and decoded, through the creation of ongoing 
situations. 




70 • RAPID EYE 1 


Video Spectacular Commodity Hype: Collapsing New 
People 

“In the essential movement of the Spectacle, which 
consists of taking up all that existed in human 
activity in a fluid state so as to possess it in a 
congealed state as things which have become the 
exclusive value by their formulation in the negative 
of lived value, we recognise our old enemy, the 
commodity, who knows so well how to seem at first 
glance something trivial and obvious, while on the 
contrary it is so full of metaphysical subtleties. This is 
the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination 
of society by intangible as well as tangible 'things', 
which reaches its absolute fulfilment in the spectacle, 
where the tangible world is replaced by a selection 
of images which exist above it, and which 
simultaneously impose themselves as the tangible par 
excellence. “ 

—Guy Debord 

The Videodrome has its roots in the stimulus 
addictive commodity culture and it is realised 
through the commodity in fashion, style, newness - 
the obsessions of the '80s. The spectacular 
videodrome generates subliminal overstimulation, 
and this hype leads to a craving for stimulation for 
its own sake. 

More Addictive Than Crack: SPECTACULAR HYPE 
The Videodrome through the television screen (in 
words, sound, visual imagery) releases spores which 
make us gorge ourselves on it, always wanting more, 
whether it's tactile, sexual, social, material or 
emotional - seeking what we can never find - the 
realisation of our desires. The video spectacular pulse 
inserts a permanent feeling of dissatisfaction of the 
senses, a crisis of identity, a confusion with 
personality. It collapses each new construct it 
proffers, it collapses new people. This is an ever- 
accelerating law of diminishing returns - craving, 
production, consumption, simulation, excitation, 
stimulation, craving - the video spectacular hype is 
never over. The Videodrome is the deepest fix you'll 
ever crave and it's a craving stimulus junkies never 
shake. 

More Descriptive Than Description: SPECTACULAR 
HYPE 

SPECTACULAR HYPE? This is the Spectacle as a 
commodity social relation invoking that which is 
Most, the Best, the Absolute. The simulated feeling 
of being drunk on history out of control; that big 
black motorcycle of video DNA commodity implants 
careering under you as your roar with uncontrollable 
laughter feeling like the Archangel Michael on 
speed. TOTAL power - that's what the addiction of 
spectacular hype is like - craziness without 
consequence. 

The Videodrome is the spectacularly boosted 
equivalent of the ultimate object - but it is also 
subliminally virulent description which induces 
frenzied consumption in the pursuit of beating 


everyone else, the ecstasy of endless one-upping, the 
fascination with luxury, the fetishisation of 
undirected spectacular charisma as a sign of being so 
over hyped that you survive intensity, survive totally. 
Brian Jones went all the way and consumed his own 
death. The Spectacular Videodrome provokes and 
annihilates desire and provokes it again because that 
desire can never die, because it can never be 
fulfilled. Spectacular hype is pure video DNA 
promotion - promoting itself. The relation 
reinforcing its own dominance: the object (Brand X, 
Brian Jones) is only ever a pretext, a decoy, a 
diversion, a ceremonial trigger. Spectacular hype 
summons us not to differentiate between objects, 
but to falsely discriminate. To exercise a controlled 
choice' while in an hypnotic fascination between 
falsely competing brands of spectacular hype, 
shimmering illusions of the spectacle. 

“What hides under the spectacular oppositions is a 
unity of miseries." 

—Guy Debord 

Television is the main means of accessing to the 
hallucinatory world of television videodrome image 
overload (T.V.O.D.). It is also ultimately lethal and 
tumour-inducing as all spectacular optical events are. 
The Spectacle is the death instinct, the Videodrome 
is death T.V., it killed Brian Jones. It had to. It has to. 
It must overwhelm and swamp the objects that act as 
pretexts in the commodity social relation. Spectacular 
hype is the dream of death, a dream of absolute 
commodity - like Brian Jones - some arch object, 
some corrupted and terribly transcendent 
decomposed thing which floats glowing... waiting 
with simulated sincerity, knowing possibly like Brian 
Jones did, that it is to be sacrificed to spectacular 
hype by those video DNA subliminal insertions in the 
collective unconscious. Lured, dragged along, 
exhausted, stood ironic and indifferent as it 
participates in its own annihilation... "This is a song 
about Brian Jones, the one in the Bolling Stones...", 
a proffered offering to spectacular hype - Primordial 
Videodrome. The Videodrome is the update, the 
charnel house of spectacular subliminal language. 
Take your room - the walls have been rebuilt; the 
decor updated (video, hi-fi, CD, computer, subliminal 
triggers, hallucinogenic transmissions...); but the 
familiar torture chamber is the same. THE 
VIDEODROME OWNS DEATH T.V. Just watch it 
collapsing new people. The worst thing in the world 
is not live burial, drowning, fire, impalement - but 
the Videodrome that surrounds us - the thing in 
Room 101 - that is the worst thing in the world. 

The Subversion Of Decoding, The Decoding Of 
Subversion 

Ideology: This is the system of video spectacular 
representations controlling, in the Videodrome, the 
relation of all individuals to the activities fixed by 
the structure of the Videodrome. 


VIDEODROME: DEATH TV • 71 


"Counterfeitism: The misuse of detournement/ 
subversion resulting from a confusing adaption of 
spectacular identity by the detourner ." 

—Isaac Cronin 

“History about to undergo a fundamental change, 
manifests in the individual as a fundamental change 
in his life... you reverse the perspective of power by 
returning to pleasure the energies stolen by work 
and constraint. " 

—Raoul Vaneigem 

William Burroughs developed a counterfeit theory of 
subversion which relied heavily on tape recorders, 
tape and sound cut-up techniques, known well to 
readers of Rapid Eye. But this was only a recording 
of the Videodrome's treatment of behaviour 
modification. Burroughs only wanted to use 
subliminal triggers, impulses, insertions for his own 
perpetuated misery. He equated liberation from 
habitual social/neurological associations with 
counterfeitist freedom from 'control'. The 
counterfeitist goal of Burroughs' techniques was for 
the individual to know what is going on well 
enough to stay one step ahead of the control 
machine. Not to transform the Videodrome, but to 
manipulate its marginal relationships to one's own 
ends; like all other spectacular philosophers, pundits, 
politicos, pop stars, and poets. According to 
Burroughs, being compulsively unpredictable is 
supposedly being rebellious because society is meant 
to be based on its ability to predict the future. Chaos 
and madness will remedy video biological 
conditioning by shocking the sleeping awake. All this 
assumes that decoding is a ritual, a fierce surrealistic 
disruption of the organisation of appearances which 
leaves your newly discovered backbone, the deep 
brain, supposedly capable of seizing radical 
consciousness. But with undeveloped replication this 
is subverted into the spectacle of 'revolt'. The 
de-control process is not just a question of cut-ups, 
edited blocks of images and sound. Apocalypse Now- 
type close-ups; nor is it understanding that when 
things are transmitted at you that ideas will become 
ideologies; or just assuming that decoding as a ritual 
will penetrate the Video-DNA informational shell 
which is imposed on us and subliminally inserted 
throughout the 24 hour horror show of the 
Videodrome. Setting Harold Wilson cum Neil Kinnock 
speaking about the white heat of the industrial 
revolution with the Dr. Who theme tune might bring 
about a useful leap in consciousness, but it is only 
superficial accessing to the decoder. 

Since the Videodrome is a total environment, the 
deconstruction must be a total environment, and this 
environment begins to emerge only when you realise 
that the map is not the territory, the menu not the 
meal, the diagram not the dialectic. You realise that 
there is a dialectical-decoding shift between the 
abstract relief of the Videodrome and the material 
relations of the situation. The central activity of this 
process is the construction of 'SITUATIONS' in all the 


above forms and then trying these leaps in 
awareness back to psycho-geographical 'drifting'. 

Decoding as drifting involves the conscious 
investigation of the urban mass - the architecture 
and the environment to sort out conscious and 
unconscious emotional and psychological responses 
to the multi-levelled geography of the architectures 
of the Videodrome - to create, to make psycho- 
emotional maps of transformed areas, events, riots, 
occupations, assemblies, cut-ups, edits, new contents, 
dialectical jumps and to invent 'situations' which will 
fantastically transform the spectacular relationships 
in those areas. 

IT IS THE UNLEASHING OF VIOLENT DESIRE, 
CREATIVITY, INVENTIVENESS, DESIRE, WHICH, 
THROUGH DECODING ONESELF CREATES NEW 
CHANGES IN ACTIVITY AND CONSCIOUSNESS. IT 
RELEASES THE MARVELLOUS, THE IMAGINATIVE AND 
THE SURREAL INTO EVERYDAY LIFE. 

Decoding is a total adventure which resists video 
spectacular deadness, petrification and 
decomposition. Drifting and decoding is the 
wonderfully dangerous accumulation of incredible 
effects on consciousness and activity. Decoding is 
seeking out and experiencing the significance of 
mysterious, wonderful and apparently unrelated 
objects. A huge network of possibilities, entropies, 
energies, ciphers and encoded instructions surround 
us in reality. They need to be hacked from the 
Videodrome. Decoding is the destruction of the 
spectacularly hyped importance of each autonomous 
element in the dialectical landscape, and at the same 
time the organisation of a decoded series of 
relationships that confer on that element, the 
emerging 'situation'; new scope and effect. 

The 'Situation', which is what the decoder 
essentially is, remains the paradox of the palindrome, 
it is both new territories and new maps. The 
Videodrome is a palimpsest, it recuperates 
relationships, draws them into the Video DNA 
spectacle - do decode it, but make no mistake, the 
Videodrome is spectacular purity. It survives and 
imposes survivalism; because it is unclouded by 
conscience, remorse or delusions of morality. But it 
is not invulnerable, and the Situationist drives the 
stake home. 


* •» 





WORDS FROM A ROOM 

An Interview With Hubert Selby Jr 


Pat Hollis 


"The facts about anything, and especially about a man's writing, are usually so 
much dust in the eye. What is important to know about a writer is given in his 
writing. No amount of information about a writer will clear up the controversy 
which his work arouses, if he is a controversial writer. The discerning ones will read 
between the lines; the patient, plodding researcher will only grow more confused." 

—Henry Miller 


I wouldn't be the first person to suggest that Hubert 
Selby is one of the more important American writers 
of the 20th Century. But, for some reason, he's never 
achieved the recognition of writers he is occasionally 
compared to, for example, William Burroughs and 
Charles Bukowski. He certainly never developed the 
public persona that surrounds both these writers 
and, in fact, keeps a public profile that is low to the 
point of invisibility. Until quite recently, few people 
even knew that he was still alive. 

A film adaptation of Selby's most famous work. 
Last Exit To Brooklyn, was in post-production at the 
time we spoke, and was released in Britain in 1991. 
Selby lent his enthusiastic support to the project in 
an advisory capacity. 

Although Selby is best known for Last Exit, his 
other works certainly deserve attention: The Room, 
Demon, Requiem For A Dream and Song Of The 
Silent Snow. 

RE: I wonder if you would tell us a little of your past 
prior to writing Last Exit. 


HS: Well, briefly, I left school when I was about 
fifteen and started working in the harbour on 
dredgers and tug boats and, when I was sixteen, I 
went to Europe on a liberty ship. I had been a big 
kid, a healthy kid, and just never went to school and 
I never bothered using my head a lot, so when I got 
sick, it really screwed me around because when I was 
eighteen, I was taken off the ship in Germany with 
TB, and they said I wouldn't live more than a couple 
of months. 

RE: What year was that? 

HS: That was in 1946, and I came back to America in 
October of 1946, and they used Streptomycin to 
keep me alive and eventually they cut out ten ribs 
and collapsed a lung, cut a piece out of the other 
lung and I spent three and a half years in hospital. 
RE: Is this back when they had TB sanatoriums? 

HS: Right. So it really turned my life around. I started 
to read books, shoot-em-up and things to pass the 
time, and then I eventually got out of hospital. I was 
in and out for a while and for a while I hung out 
with some friends of mine down around the army 





HUBERT SELBY JR • 73 



Selby on the set of ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn’ 


base in Brooklyn where 'Last Exit’ takes place. Then 
I started hanging out in a bar with some friends 
from the neighbourhood in Brooklyn where I lived, 
and one of them was Gil Sorrentino, the writer, who 
was really my mentor. They were going to college, I 
guess, at the time or something, I don’t know. 
Anyway, I used to sit and listen to them and they 
would talk about people like Ezra Pound, William 
Carlos Williams etc., and I would listen and try to 
remember as many names as I could. Then the next 
day I would sneak over to the library, making sure 
nobody saw me. 

RE: Didn't want to ruin your reputation? 

HS: Yeah. And I'd get out whatever books I could. I 
started reading and, reading everybody at once. 
Which is really kind of nice because I didn't have to 
work out any influence. I remember when Gil was 
moving, we were helping him move, and he had this 
big box of papers, manuscripts and stuff, and 
naturally we sat around and started reading it. He'd 
read something, and you could tell who he was 
reading at the time. That's the stuff he wrote when 
he was a teenager. You could tell he was reading 
Williams or Eliot or Pound, you know, because that's 
what the poems sounded like. So I didn't have to 
work out any influence like that because I never 
concentrated on one writer or one country or period 
of writing. I might be reading Hemingway one day, 
Anatole the next day, or Rabelais or Homer, 
whatever I could get from the library. 


RE: Self-education. 

HS: / suppose that's what it would be called. 

RE: So, then, what prompted you to begin writing 
your stories for Last Exit To Brooklyn ? 

HS: Well, a couple of times they said I wouldn't live 
long, and then I finally got out of hospital. I was 
married and we had a daughter a couple of years 
old, and I was taken back into hospital with asthma, 
and this one doctor, a so-called specialist, told me 
'You know, you just don't have any lungs, and you 
can't live. Nothing we can do for you, just go home, 
sit in a chair, and don't move.' He walked away and 
sent me a bill. You know, consultation fee. He never 
even came into my room. I remember him so clearly, 
just sitting in the hallway and he talked to me for 
about two minutes. 

RE: I work in the medical profession in my regular 
job. 

HS: Oh really? Then you know, man, they're just 
unscrupulous, unbelievable. Eventually I was back in 
the hospital again. This time an allergist started 
treating me, and I was on disability; my wife was 
working at Macy's, if I remember correctly. And I had 
an experience, what I realise today was a spiritual 
experience, although at the time I never thought of 
it as such. Just something that happened. But, as you 
know, with spiritual experiences, they are more real 
than any experience we have on this level of living. 
It was very intense and I experienced it in all of my 
dreams. 




74 • RAPID EYE 1 


RE: When you finished writing Last Exit, did you 
have any trouble publishing it? 

HS: Well by that time I was hanging out with poets, 
writers, painters and musicians, and just about every 
weekend we were over at Roi's house, Le Roi Jones, 
now Amiri Baraka. He always had a big apartment 
and we just kind of hung out there, and people 
would read my stuff and they liked it. And Seymour 
Kern, a commercial publisher, had me send the stuff 
up there, and they asked me to come over for lunch 
and talk about it. What they wanted me to do was 
sign a contract with them and write a novel, and 
after they published the novel, then they would 
publish 'Last Exit'. They said no, a book like this will 
never sell, and so on, so you write a novel first. 

I went into the Cedar Street Bar where we hung 
out that night and told Roi what had happened at 
the publishers and he asked why I didn't get an 
agent. I told him I didn’t know anything about 
agents or publishing, I was just trying to write the 
best story I could. He said, 'Well, Sterling Lord is Jack 
Kerouac’s agent, why don't you try him?' So I called 
him up and gave him the manuscript, and a few days 
later he called back and said 'I read it and I think we 
can make money together'. So he submitted it to 
Grove [Press], They accepted it and, by that time, Gil 
Sorrentino was working at Grove as an assistant 
editor, and he had written a really detailed critique 
of 'Last Exit', one of the things that Grove did to 
help sell the book. They sent out a copy of Gil's 
critique along with all the review copies. 

I didn't think of 'Last Exit as being unusual or 
anything else, but evidently it was. It was not a very 
common kind of book, and these people who make 
their living reviewing books etc. are usually rather 
academic people and have no idea what the hell is 
going on in the world. Coming across something of 
this nature, I now realise today from what I've since 
been told, would have dumbfounded them. They 
wouldn't know what the hell to do. They would be 
afraid to say they liked it, and were afraid to put it 
down because they didn't want to look like fools. 
Having this triumph, so to speak, helped them, and 
it got some wonderful reviews. Another thing that 
really helped was 'Time' magazine reviewed it and 
called it 'Grove’s dirty book of the month'. That gave 
everybody ammunition to attack 'Time', and 
'Newsweek' gave me a big spread, and Grove took 
out a full page ad in the 'New York Times', and the 
thing just went on from there. 

RE: How was your life following publication? I 
believe it sold quite a few thousand copies. 

HS: Yeah, it did very well. It had quite a few 
printings in hardback and paperback, and was 
translated into quite a few languages, and I just 
went on from there. 

RE: You had no problem with censorship? 

HS: Well, in England they had a debate about it in 
the House of Commons for two weeks, and they had 
a big court case that ended with them forming an 
organisation of people like Anthony Burgess and 
Sam Beckett and so forth, to defend the book. That 


organisation still exists. 

RE: A similar thing happened to Henry Miller's stuff 
when they tried to publish it here in the States. To 
switch topics, when did you start writing Demon ? 
HS: 'Demon'. When the hell did I write 'Demon'!? 
Oh, 1975, I think. 

RE: Why the long time period between books? 

HS: Well, 'The Room’ was written before 'Demon'. I 
wrote 'The Room’ in 1970. After 'Last Exit' was 
published, some money started coming in and I 
found it very easy to sit around and do nothing but 
stay drunk. 

RE: Were you a success at that? 

HS: / think so. I drank myself to death and now I 
haven't had a drink in nineteen years, so I guess I 
was a success. 

RE: Certainly you went as far with it as you could. 
HS: Yeah, I couldn't go any further without 
drowning. I mean, when something kills you, that’s 
about as far as you can go with it. 

RE: When you started to write The Room, was it 
prior to your decision to stop drinking? 

HS: No. That happened after. I was sober when I 
wrote 'The Room". That book is a good example of 
a lot of things for me. I didn't read that book for 
twelve years, and I just re-read it a year or two ago, 
and my initial impression was right. It's the most 
disturbing book I've ever read in my life. It's 
horrifying, but at the same time, I think it's a 
masterpiece. It's really is a great book, and I can see 
in the last stage, it took me six years because I had 
to learn how to write. It's a great book, but there 
are parts of that book when it came out and 
suddenly I saw it on the typewriter, I couldn't believe 
it. My initial reaction was no. I'm not going to write 
this, you know. But, as I say, I don't have the right to 
do that, it's up to me to understand the story that 
has been given to me and to meet the needs and 
demands of that story, so the stuff was there coming 
out. I just put it on paper and when the book was 
finished, it all worked. So / didn’t have the right to 
not write that stuff just because I don't want people 
to think that there's something wrong with me. 

RE: What was going on at that time in your life? 

HS: My life was wonderful at that time. That 
particular period of my life was wonderful. I has 
been sober and I was living with a young lady I 
eventually married. She had a little girl, and my life 
was just terrific. 

RE: It was interesting to me, reading that book. Part 
of my job is to deal with people who are having 
similar problems, and The Room has a certain 
screaming to it of realising the lack of control in 
your life, or that feeling of lack of control. 

HS: You've hit it. 

RE: It's very common, and when I talk to people who 
are saying these things, they're thinking those 
things, no matter how logical or illogical. 

HS: You’re right. 

RE: The cage may be bars or the cage may be 
addiction or the cage may be your marriage. 

HS: We create it ourselves, but we don't see it, the 




HUBERT SELBY JR • 75 


guilt we feel. That's absolutely right. Lack of power 
is of the limit. You look at the best-seller list, in the 
non-fiction category, and you'll always see that at 
least half the books have to do with power. How to 
exert power over other people. How to be a success. 
How to have more power, in one way or another, 
they're all talking about power. 

RE: Or powerful people explaining how they became 
powerful. 

HS: Right. In one way or another, that's right. 

RE: How was The Room accepted once it was 
published? 

HS: Well, it got the greatest reviews I've ever read. 
I mean, I wouldn't have the nerve to write a review 
like that of my own book. You know, like Walt 
Whitman did, I wouldn't. In 'The Saturday Review' 
and 'New York Times’. Not only were they very 
complimentary, but they also understood the book. 
RE: I notice the French tend to label it 'existential'. 
HS: / don't exactly know what that means, to be 
perfectly honest with you. 

RE: I don't either. The Room just seemed to be a 
picture of one man who's caged and doesn't know 
how to get out. 

HS: At the end of the book they open the door, but 
he stays caged. Yeah, I want to explain something. 
When I talk about understanding that story, I don't 
necessarily mean a psychological understanding, 
moral or ethical. For instance, 'The Room', the basis 
of it, the thing that I understand and work from was 
variations on a theme. That’s right, it is a musical 
concept in 'The Room’ and it’s more a jazz concept 
than a classical concept, in some sense, simply 
because it's more contemporary. But it's also the 
simple baroque kind of variation or trio sonata, so to 
speak, and it has to do with whatever the facts may 
be. It has to do with memory, it has to do with 
fantasy. It's all variations on the same thing, almost 
like a Rosh Hashanah in a way. Which story is true in 
Rosh Hashanah and which story is true in this guy's 
head. We know, I think you know, by the time you 
finish the book, you know which is true and which 
isn't. But the point is, it doesn't make any difference 
because he's already found himself guilty. And it's 
the same thing, I had to understand, like with 
'TraLaLa'. 

Now, 'TraLaLa' is only about twenty pages long, 
and it took me two and a half years to write. Of 
course, I was working at a job during the day, and 
I'd come home at night to work. 

That's how 'Last Exit" was written you know, at 
night, a couple of hours every night. 

RE: Were you able to devote all your time to writing 
when you were doing The Room ? 

HS: Yeah. 

RE: And then after The Room, when did Demon 
come out? 

HS: 1972, I think. Oh, wait a second, I guess 'The 
Room’ didn't come out until 1972, and then 'Demon' 
came out in 1976. I spent a year pumping gas, and I 
spent a year as a stockboy and was unable to do any 
writing at all... 


RE: I think Terry Southern said that you are one of 
the moral writers of our time. 

HS: / can't get away from that, but there doesn’t 
seem to be judgement in it. You know, the word 
‘moral’ is like the word "Cod'. It’s a tough word, 
man. It's got bad press. Real bad press. But it doesn't 
have to be judgement in the sense of morality. In 
other words, it doesn't have to be that way. I believe 
true morality is totally lacking judgement, and that’s 
one of the things people respond to in a lot of my 
work. 

RE: If they dare to. 

HS: Yeah. Ha, ha. 

RE: As opposed to Josephine Hendon who did an 
article in Harper's. The title of the article was Angry 
S/M As A Literary Style. She said about you, "There 
are writers who hate people, who thrive on the rage 
that bristles in every city. They know the crowd 
craves blood because they crave it themselves and 
feel thoroughly alive". 

HS: That's what she said about me? That's funny, 
that’s not what she said when she reviewed 'The 
Room'. 

RE: This is where she lumped you and William 
Burroughs and Barthelme and Hunter Thompson, 
which I kind of think is an odd grouping of people 
anyway, but that is what she said. She also went on 
to say that "from human dregs, from the 
unremittingly tormented, Selby extracts the very 
odour of rage or essence of that free-floating danger 
that lies like a pall over all of us". That seems 
somewhat accurate to me. 

HS: Yeah, she reviewed 'The Room’ for 'The Saturday 
Review’ and it was an absolutely great review. I 
think she called me 'the poet of our decline'. 

RE: Although it is interesting, in this article, she said 
that "in Selby's rare heterosexual love scenes, most 
of his characters hate women so totally and do not 
want to get close to them, even to destroy them". I 
don't have that sense of your writing. 

HS: / don't know, but I can certainly understand how 
she might react that way, especially as a 
contemporary woman. I don't know if I would totally 
disagree. You know what I mean, I can see that 
could be a valid interpretation. 

RE: I guess what I look at is that the alienation and 
fear aren't necessarily directed at women. It just so 
happens that a lot of relationships involve women. 
HS: That's true. If you look at the work, I think you'll 
see that alienation between everyone. For instance, 
in 'Demon', the only real relationship Harry has is 
with his wife, and he has, to the best of his ability, 
a loving relationship with her occasionally. 

RE: A friend of mine, after reading Demon, said that 
he thought it a religious book, but not necessarily in 
the sense of Catholicism or a formal religion. It is a 
view of a person looking for an answer, and whether 
you want to label him a sexual psychopath, a sexual 
addict, or whatever, it's that striving to find an 
answer to things that are going on. 

HS: / think the Epigraph really tells you the whole 
thing. A man obsessed is a man possessed by a 




76 • RAPID EYE 1 


(T[T) 8allantine/Ficlk>n/28148,52.95 

THE ENTIRE EXPLOSIVE 

GROVE PRESS BESTSELLER 



demon and it doesn't make any difference what the 
obsession is. You can feel obsessed with gambling, 
with eating, with drinking, drugs, women, with 
money, you know, power. You just can't satisfy an 
obsession. 

RE: That seems to be a recurring theme in your 
writing. 

HS: Yeah, just like that loss of power. It was very 
interesting that you noticed that loss of control, 
because one of the things that I did after I had 
written a couple of little things was to re-read them 
and see what was in the work that hadn't been put 
there deliberately and consciously. The thing I 
noticed, what really leaped out at me, was that they 
all failed because they lost control, not because they 
were immoral or anything, but they lost control. 

RE: I guess I have a lot of empathy for Harry. 

HS: Which Harry? 

RE: They're all Harrys. Harry White. 

HS: Harry White. Yes. 

RE: Because even though his acts could be viewed as 
immoral, you had sympathy for him, not necessarily 
because he chose not to do it, but once you get 
started, it doesn't stop. It's like getting a little bit 
pregnant or having just one drink, or just going to 
play a friendly game of cards. Once you start, the 
ball starts rolling and it doesn't stop. 


HS: That's right, man. Try and get a little bit 
pregnant. Man may one day accomplish this, but 
hasn't done so yet. 

RE: That's right. In dealing with people with 
addictions, there is no in-between. For example, the 
same thing is true of sexual addicts. It's like, well, I 
can just cruise the streets and look at 'em as long as 
I don't touch 'em. 

HS: Yeah. Lots of luck, Charlie. I'm gonna buy 
'Playboy' for the literature in it. I've heard so many 
people say that, as if they're going to convince 
someone they are buying 'Playboy' for the reading. 
RE: In a sense, I agree that guilt was the first step of 
an obsession, because of the self-consciousness. 

HS: Guilt is the first step of human existence, right. 
What I mean by human existence is life as we are 
experiencing it now. If it wasn't for guilt we would 
realise the truth about our nature, wouldn't we ? But 
when we are guilty we are afraid to look and see 
that we really are God. 

RE: Catholicism has done a good job of implanting 
that guilt in most people. 

HS: Mea fuckin’ culpa, man! 

RE: Yes, I remember being an altar boy. Having them 
tell me that every day. 

HS: / remember, of course, it’s much different today, 
but when I was a kid I was in a predominantly Irish 
Catholic neighbourhood, and I was a 'Black 
Protestant’, and in those days we used to have what 
they called Brooklyn Days, in May, which was really 
like the anniversary of the Methodist Sunday School. 

There was a big parade in our area. It was terrific, 
with ice cream and cake and all that, and I 
remember my friends - we were eight years old - I 
remember my Catholic friends being told by the nuns 
that if they looked at a Protestant parade, they 
would go blind. Jesus Christ! 

RE: I remember in the Catholic church, they said, 
"You're not allowed to enter another church, that's 
a sin." 

HS: That's right. 

RE: After Demon, how long was it before Requiem ? 
HS: It wasn't too long. 'Requiem' was probably from 
1978. 

RE: I noticed similar remarks about Requiem. That is, 
first they thought you were a professional inmate 
after The Room, and a sex addict after Demon, and 
then you wrote Requiem and everybody thought you 
were Black. It seems there are similar themes of 
getting trapped and sometimes of being afraid of 
getting out of that trap because it's more familiar 
than taking a chance on something you don't know. 
HS: Same self-delusion. 

RE: Were you able to support yourself with your 
writing up through Requiem ? 

HS: Yes, I was. I was doing a couple of little movie 
things and so forth, and then I got sick. Physically 
sick. Oh, shit for five or six years I was unable to do 
any work, and everything just fell apart. I went back 
East for five years and eventually my wife left me. 
RE: Your first wife? 

HS: No. This was my third wife. I met her in January 




HUBERT SELBY JR • 77 


of 1968, actually; I was still married, as a matter of 
fact. I wrote a thing for Stanley Kramer, 'Remember 
the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy'. Back in 1974 ABC 
Television was going to do a Special on the Ten 
Commandments, a two-hour movie, on each of the 
Commandments, but not with a religious or 
historical theme, just a contemporary story. It's very 
funny, because ABC took five of the Commandments, 
with an option on the other five. 

RE: That's typical. 

HS: / can just see them do all ten and they get this 
great rating, so ABC send Moses out for another five, 
right? 

RE: Either that or they go 'Gee, we got good ratings 
on seven, but eight isn't really making it so we 
should drop it and go to nine.' 

HS: / tell you, it's just marvellous. The whole thing 
got cancelled, but I guess it might not have got done 
anyway because Kramer said to me 'You know, this 
is the most beautiful and wonderful script I have 
ever read that will not be done on television.' He 
said, 'You wrote literature." 

RE: Have any of your adaptations or original 
screenplays made it up there yet? 

HS: One in Europe. 

RE: What was the name of the film? 

HS: Oh, 'Day And Night', I think. Or 'Night And Day'. 
RE: I heard that Robert De Niro and Stanley Kubrick 
were interested in doing some of your stuff. Did you 
see Taxi Driver and what did you feel about that 
film? 

HS: Well, I saw 'Mean Streets' and I enjoyed that 
very much. I liked 'Taxi Driver" too. I think that's all 
I've seen actually. I’ve missed all the others that are 
supposed to be so good, like 'Raging Bull'. 

RE: Do you have a TV at home? 

HS: No. 

RE: Are there any films or film-makers now that you 
like? 

HS: / forget, but I enjoyed 'The Unbearable Lightness 
Of Being' very much. Except it was forty-five minutes 
too long and tough on the bottom. One of the 
funniest films I've seen in a long time was 'Blue 
Velvet'. Did you see that? 

RE: Yes I did. 

HS: That was fantastic. I got such a big kick out of 
that. 

RE: A lot of people didn't see some of the humour in 
it though. 

HS: Well, it was almost like a take-off. He was just 
taking off on the whole genre. I don't know how 
you could miss it. It was very blatant. Anyway, I got 
a big kick out of it, but I've seen some English 
movies recently that I thought were terrific. 

You know, I don't see many foreign films, but 'Au 
Revoir Les Enfants' was marvellous, I thought. 'My 
Life As A Dog' I enjoyed thoroughly. I liked 'Dark 
Eyes’, that was good. 

Most of the American movies today are just 
hopeless, you know. They're made by young kids, I 
mean the people at the studios and all that, who 
have, I guess, MBAs or something, and who have 


been raised on television and have no idea what life 
is, they have no life experience. They just have TV 
experience, and they're re-making old movies 
according to their interpretation of life as viewed 
from 'Father Knows Best' or something. I don't know 
what, but it’s really amazing what they do with the 
money. I mean, they spend 30 or 40 million dollars 
on a movie and it’s dreadful. It's not even like the 
old movies where they were hopeless but they were 
a lot of fun. These are just not a lot of fun. 

RE: I hear that a couple of your books have been 
optioned again. 

HS: Well, the option on 'Demon' I have nothing to 
do with. He does this thing by himself and he's in 
France, so I have no idea what’s happening with 
that. But the 'Last Exit To Brooklyn’ film I was 
involved in. They asked me about everything that 
came along. They wanted my input on everything. 
RE: You have been doing some readings in 
California. 

HS: Yeah, there were a few I did with Henry Rollins, 
three with Henry and Lydia Lunch. Then I did one 
with Henry and some other people up at the Roxy. 
RE: How did those go? 

HS: Oh, it's wonderful, just really wonderful. One of 
the great things about it is that the young people, 
like people in their twenties, really respond to my 
work. I didn't notice, but evidently there is a whole 
following out there of young people. It was a big 
audience. 

RE: There are a lot of people, including film-makers, 
who have been close to your work who have been 
praising it and sending it to other people to 
introduce them to it. 

HS: Really? I'm not aware of any of it. As far as I'm 
aware, I'm dead. You know, I have never been 
acknowledged as existing in this country by more 
than a couple of people. 

RE: Do you feel any kinship or do you communicate 
at all with some of your contemporaries, such as 
Burroughs or any of those? I know he's a big fan. 
HS: No, I don't get to see anybody. William Kennedy 
I love. I wrote a little note to him, but there is just 
really no communication. 

RE: Ironically I see a certain kinship with Bukowski. 
He writes about similar people, and it's fairly non- 
judgemental, although he tends to be a little more 
experimental, which you chose not to be, and he 
asserts himself more. For years, people were not 
interested in him, and now of course he is gaining a 
resurgence. 

HS: Yeah, well that's been going on for quite a 
while, I understand. For quite a few years now he 
has been making a lot of money, reading in Europe 
and all that kind of thing. I remember seeing a little 
article on him in some magazine, oh, four years or 
more ago, where he had just bought a $250,000 
house and all that kind of stuff. 

RE: I guess that makes it a little more difficult for 
him to write about the hotels he lived in. Are you 
familiar with his work? 

HS: No, not really. 




78 • RAPID EYE 1 


RE: What authors are you reading now that you 
appreciate who are your contemporaries? 

HS: Well, I just finished reading a thing by Milan 
Kundera that I really liked very, very much. Like I 
said, I love Kennedy. God, he's marvellous. Just 
fuckin' marvellous. Michael Stevens, Gil. I love Gil's 
stuff. I forget names though sometimes. I don't read 
as much as I like because I teach one night a week at 
USC, so I spend a lot of my time reading and going 
over the students' stuff. 

RE: Are you working or doing anything besides 
writing and teaching? 

HS: No. I had a job for a couple of years, but that 
ended last year, so now I've just been at home trying 
to finish my new book. 

RE: Can you tell me where you are headed with it? 
HS: Well, this is a whole new kind of thing for me. 
It's a first person book and it’s just a whole different 
approach... There is a man who is, I think, in the 
book he is fifty years old, and looking back at his 
childhood. Trying to understand the child. In that 
process he tries to understand his father, and 
through that, he understands his relationship with 
God. How this all started is really kind of fun. Like I 
say, I try to say yes to life. Whatever is put in front 
of me, I believe, is an opportunity for love and 
service, so I just try to say yes to life. I was reading a 
story by one of my students and one line in it didn't 
make sense. I read it about three times, four times, 
and it just didn't make any sense and I couldn't 
figure out what the hell was wrong with this line. 
Then I noticed I was misreading it. So many people 
have told me how they read what they experience in 
life. That line was 'Eyes filled before the tears came', 
and I kept reading 'He remembered how his father 
felt before the tears came'. And I said 'Ho, ho, Mr 
Freud. What do we have here?’ So I wrote down the 
line as I had misread it, and shortly after that I typed 
it and I have been going ever since. 





DEAD FINGERS TALK 

An Interview With William 5 Burroughs 


V. Vale 


RE: You see outer space as the solution to this cop- 
ridden planet? 

WSB: Yeah, it's the only place to go! If we ever get 
out alive... IF we're lucky. But it isn't just COP 
RIDDEN, it's ridden with every sort of insanity. Of 
course, all these nuts make the cops necessary. In 
New York there was one guy who was going out 
and pushing people in front of subways. Another 
guy - the Mad Slasher - he had a meat cleaver, he 
carried it around in a little bag, and he suddenly 
started cutting people up. He cut a guy's ear off. 
They got TWO mad slashers, another with a knife - 
a big hunting one - he killed about three or four 
people. 

RE: In New York? 

WSB: Just suddenly on the street, he started cutting 
up! Stabbing everybody in sight. Just like the Amok 
in Southeast Asia, just exactly the same 
phenomenon. He just went around and killed 
people. He escaped. Usually, with the Amok it was a 
form of suicide, and they were usually killed. 
Everybody starts yelling out, 'Amok! Amok!’ and rush 
up with whatever weapons they have and they 
finally kill the Amok. But this one got away and may 
do it again... You know, just one thing like that after 
another... 

RE: Have you witnessed any altercations recently? 
WSB: Well, yeah... very often you see somebody 
freaking out, on a subway. I saw this guy he had a 
wild look in his eye, he was sort of swinging from 


one strap to another - he'd start at one end of the 
car and go down to the other end. As soon as the 
subway stopped EVERYBODY got off! The last I saw 
there were about four cops on their way to subdue 
him. 

RE: It seems this sort of thing is escalating. What role 
do the media play in this? Are they just passively 
reporting or — 

WSB: I don't know, because they don't have this 
problem in other places. They don't have this 
problem in Paris. 

RE: In Tokyo they have a huge population, 
overcrowding, but... 

WSB: I know. In Paris they've got poor people, 
they've got everything, but it doesn't seem to 
express itself in that way. That's what you're REALLY 
worried about, the people that are just nuts, that 
don't have any rationality. 

RE: Usually the solution is to 'beef up the police '— 
WSB: The police, my god, the police have taken such 
a beating since New Year's. Some guy got in an 
argument with a cop and took his gun away and 
killed him. Another guy beat a cop almost to death 
with his own nightstick. These things happen all the 
time! Maybe you read about it; you see, the cops 
pulled this van over and two guys in the van jumped 
out and started shooting with 9-millimetres, those 
15-shot Browning. Man, they just riddled the car, 
both cops had about five bullets in them. They were 
slow on the uptake! You see somebody jump out - 



80 • RAPID EYE 1 



you'd better jump out too in a hurry! But they 
didn't. One of them's dead (the other will recover). 
He was shot in the brain, he lived for about five 
days. Finally had to pull the plug. 

RE: I think criminals are raising their aiming point 
since so many cops wear Second Chance (Body 
Armour) now. 

WSB: These guys knew what they were doing - they 
weren't muggers and they weren't lunatics. They 
knew how to use the guns, they had the two hand 
hold... were really pouring it in there. 

RE: Ever had the desire to go to the Cooper School 
Gunsite? (A progressive arms training school in 
Arizona.) 

WSB: Well... yeah, you'll get some tips there, I think. 
By and large it’s just getting out on the range and 
doing a little practising. What I do is, I start as close 
as I need to get, in order to get em all in the black, 
then start moving back. Then see what's wrong, if 
you're shooting high or low (I'm shooting a little to 
the left on my 9-millimetre). Then move back to 
fifteen yards. It's not very practical to bother with 
anything beyond twenty five yards - there's no 
point. 

RE: That's seventy five feet — 

WSB: Seventy five feet, that's fair enough... most 
anything to do with self defence is going to be not 


fifteen yards but FIVE yards. 

RE: It seems like it's going to get worse... 

WSB: Well, some company has a shock stick - it's 
supposed to give someone a paralysing shock. But 
I've never seen one. They also have this thing - it's 
just like a flashlight - it develops a tremendously 
bright flash that will blind someone, particularly in 
the dark. See, if someone came on you in the dark 
straight, and you give them a flash of that, they’re 
all completely blinded long enough for you to either 
run... or give them a kick or two! 

RE: How would you use your cane? 

WSB: There's all sorts of things you can do with a 
cane, practically anything except THAT (demonstrates 
using it as a club). That's only a feint. If you ever do 
that with a cane you go like THAT. When he puts his 
hand up, you slice down to the knee. That cane of 
mine's not very heavy. Of course, if a guy's got 
something in his hand then slap the hand. Jam it 
into his solar plexus or Adam's apple, or anywhere. 
Clay Wilson just gave me a spring steel unit. I 
wouldn't carry it because I want to buy something, 
the cane's always slipping down, hitting somebody... 
it's incredibly inconvenient to have a cane that 
doesn't have a hook on it. 

RE: Society seems to be tending toward new survival 
requirements... you once mentioned that you 
yourself have three lines of defence. That seems to 
be thought out for a reason. 

WSB: Yeah. A mace gun, a cobra, and a cane are my 
three lines of defence. It's something new. This 
didn't used to be true, you know. I talked to people 
in Los Angeles who said they used to leave their 
doors open and not worry about it, and now they've 
all got security systems and all the rest of it. I draw 
the line at keeping a fuckin' dog! I don't like them 
anyway - particularly not vicious ones - cause they're 
always biting other people. (A friend) has a dog in 
New Mexico, outside of town. Well, the dog bit 
three people who were friends of his - finally it 
killed his cat. He had to get rid of it. But... if you 
don't have a dog, everybody knows it. And they 
know, of course, when you're going to town - how 
long it's going to take you to get there and back - 
so you just get ripped off for everything you own. I 
don't know what you can so, what substitute there 
is. That's what dogs are for. Another thing that they 
do: they alert you if anyone is coming. And they 
know from about three hundred yards away. It's 
amazing. Two or three hundred yards, all the dogs 
start barking. They know somebody's coming long 
before you would have any knowledge. And THAT'S 
what they're for. 

RE: It seems a general state of alertness would be 
the first condition of being out in the Bowery where 
you live. 

WSB: The Bowery house base is so watched. The 
Bowery itself, there's nothing there, just old bums; 
they're harmless. That's a safe neighbourhood - safer 
than the posh neighbourhoods. The Upper West Side 
and the East Side - that's where they have the REAL 
trouble, where they got these big apartment houses. 






WILLIAM S BURROUGHS • 81 


because the muggers feel they can GET something 
there. Not in the Bowery; there's no muggers in the 
Bowery. But when you go down the subways, of 
course, well then anything can happen. 

RE: You stay away from them? 

WSB: No, no! I travel on them practically every day. 
I have to get uptown for my various reasons, it's the 
only way to travel. Oh yeah, I travel on the subways 
all the time. 

RE: Have you taken any special precautions for your 
YMCA in New York? [At the time of the interview, 
WSB lived in a converted basement toilet of a former 
YMCA building.] 

WSB: That's quite secure, it has no windows. It has 
some windows that open on a shaft - we've got bars 
on them. And there are four doors between me and 
the street. And in the daytime there's a guy 
downstairs with a pistol guarding the furniture store 
there. And they check people that come in and out. 
If someone comes in and asks for me, they look him 
over. So that's pretty good. I haven't had any trouble 
with people breaking in. 

RE: Do you ever practise with an air pistol? 

WSB: I've got one, yeah. A 'Diana', I believe. It's got 
a gas cylinder. I'd rather have one that didn't have a 
gas cylinder, you're always running out of them. And 
it doesn't work exactly. I've got to put some sort of 
wad in it to make it engage. But it's alright. I 
practise with it a lot. 

RE: Just shooting targets? 

WSB: Yeah, I've got a loft, and the walls are three 
feet thick. So there's no hassle. Usually I put a 
telephone book up as the backing. It'll chew a 
telephone book to pieces in about... oh, several days' 
shooting. It's pretty powerful, it'll imbed itself in 
wood, soft pine, it's good practice. 

RE: Except you don't get the feel of recoil... 

WSB: Somebody says that he solved the whole 
problem of recoil by balancing the forward 
movement and the backward movement so there's 
no recoil. I saw a picture of it in Soldier Of Fortune 
- that's all I know about it. But of course, I'd like to 
see a smoothbore shotgun revolver... even in .410. If 
it was good and heavy you could even have it up to 
20-gauge. After all, they’re shooting these Thompson 
Contenders with really high powered rifle cartridges. 
Why couldn't they do the same with a shotgun? In 
other words, a hand shotgun. Double-barrelled 
perhaps, heavy enough to balance the recoil, so 
you'd have hand shotgun hunting just like they have 
handgun pistol hunting. The point is, they can sell all 
they make, so why should they change? It's like the 
internal combustion engine, so long as they can sell 
'em they're not going to change the design. 

RE: By the way, what was the Tucker car? 

WSB: It wasn't quite a turbine engine, but it had all 
sorts of improvements. It's so much better than any 
car on the market, there's just no comparison. It 
could stop on a dime. It could do all sorts of things. 
He only made two. He had about $20 million, but 
that's a drop in the bucket; when you're bucking 
General Motors, $20 million is chicken feed. And he 


WAS bucking General Motors. So they put him out 
of business. He couldn't get the materials. See, if 
they can freeze the materials on anybody... I've seen 
it happen with a lot of things. Another guy was 
going to make Lustron houses: this guy had a 
prefabricated house that was made of porcelain steel 
with the insulation in the middle. It was rustproof, 
termite proof, it would last forever. They were 
supposed to come on the market for $5,000, then it 
was $9,000, then $12,000. He only made a few 
hundred before they went under. 

RE: Do examples still exist? 

WSB: Oh yeah, there must be, because they could 
never wear out! They were in different colours, you 
could add rooms to them, they could put this thing 
up in a couple of days. You got a lot, you could put 
up your house. And it could last forever. Well of 
course the real estate lobby really go into HIM... 
They want houses that'll fall apart in ten years so 
you gotta get a new one. Just like everything - cars, 
anything else. And you can't buck 'em. There was 
this woman who went down to South America and 
found a birth control herb that’ll last for SEVEN years 
- and you can reverse it with another herb if you 
want to have children. So she came back thinking 
the chemical companies would jump all over it. They 
said: Wait a minute - we can sell a pill every day - 
what do we want to know about a seven year pill 
for? So... they didn't want to know. 

RE: Good grief! What happened to that? 

WSB: Nothing. Some friends of mine - the 
Eco-Technic Institute - they're going to the Amazon 
this summer and they're going to try to pick it up, 
do something with it. It would have to be a small 
firm, sort of entrepreneurs. But then you’d never get 
the okay from the FDA, the Food and Drug 
Administration. They'd never give you the okay, 
'cause they're sort of the company cops of the big 
drug companies. They get THEIR shit through no 
matter how dangerous it is, like Thalidomide and a 
lot of other compounds that turned out to be very 
dangerous, that have all sorts of side effects. But if 
some guy's making it in a basement laboratory - 
HE'LL never get the okay! 

RE: Who are the Eco-Technic Institute? 

WSB: They are primarily an ecology organisation- 
very successful. They have a big place in New Mexico; 
they have a beef ranch in Australia; they have an 
hotel in Katmandu. They own a huge... they seem to 
have the money... millions, 'cause that house they 
bought in the South of France with thirty acres, a 
house that could hold, house and feed 70 people at 
a conference, it's huge. That's about, I'd say $6 
million anyway. Thirty acres, man, twenty miles from 
Marseilles! But at their conferences - any of their 
conferences - they will not allow journalists. None! 
No matter how well intentioned. And that's very 
sensible, cause you get scientists up there and they're 
going to get misquoted: "Scientist sees end of the 
world in ten years" when he's saying that a certain 
situation will be CRITICAL in ten years - a water 
table or something like that. And then they won't 




82 • RAPID EYE 1 



come to the next conference. So the woman in 
charge just banned all journalists... Heyerdahl was 
there, the Kon Tiki man, the guy that sailed the 
papyrus boat... and doctors from the World Health... 
a lot of very interesting people. I was glad I went, 
but, god, the first night I got there, it was in 
wintertime, and these great big country houses - just 
a big room with one tiny electric heater. I never took 
my clothes off throughout the conference!... Beware 
of country houses in the winter! 

RE: I'm interested in turning-points in history, like, in 
'Cities Of The Red Night’, there's that story of 
Captain Mission, which presented an entirely 
different possibility for the Americas which didn't 
happen. 

WSB: There are lots of those turning points, dates; 
important, crucial dates. One of them is certainly 
(although it isn't a clear-cut date like a battle or 
something, but it's one of the great dates in history) 
- Systemic Antibiotics. Because before that, boy, you 
got an infection, you were dead! It's nothing now to 
have an infection, and pneumonia was a BIG killer. 
So, that's a very big date... 

RE: I think the birth control herb you mentioned 
could be equally important. 

WSB: Absolutely. And, of course, August 6, 1945. 
Godalmighty, the atom bomb, what a date! [laughs] 

[At this point, several people talk briefly to 
Burroughs. Jello Biafra, lead singer with The Dead 
Kennedys, asks if William is familiar with the cancer 
cells of Henrietta Lacks, that keep reappearing in 
laboratories all over the world. S. Clay Wilson asks 
"Bill, when you stared at your foot all that time 
when you were strung out in Morocco or wherever 
it was - did you have your shoe on or off?" WSB 
answers with matter-of-fact politeness: "Oh, no, I left 
my shoe on. I'd rather look at my foot with my shoe 
on than off."] 

RE: What do you think about the assassination 
attempts on Reagan, the Pope — 

WSB: It looks like it's going to get very dangerous to 


be a Pope or President or Prime Minister. The time 
may come when they can't get anybody to take the 
job! 

RE: It seems they weren't totally serious, using a .22. 
WSB: Well, HE was a nut. The other guy wasn't, the 
terrorist. I think he was really trying. If it had been 
a .45 I think that might have been IT... De Gaulle had 
real professionals after him for years and they didn't 
succeed, because his bodyguards knew what they 
were doing. That's the point - they would never 
have let anyone get THAT close to Le General. But 
here was this guy in the press circles, he had no press 
credentials!... It's just ridiculous. Not only should they 
have checked the press credentials, but they should 
put ALL the fucking reporters through one of those 
metal detectors. Because a nutty reporter could get 
the idea of assassinating the president - same thing 
would happen... A bodyguard has to be telepathic. 
Oh, absolutely! He's got to be able to see round 
corners. And another very important thing is 
LOOKING UP. A lot of people don't do that. The 
American Secret Service - THEY DON'T HAVE IT! 
They're not alert like that. 

RE: How can we improve our telepathic abilities? Are 
they genetically limited? 

WSB: No, I think everyone has it in them. It's just a 
question of pressure. PRESSURE:! Those guys had to 
do that, or they'd find somebody who would. In 
other words, if they were going to be bodyguards to 
de Gaulle, they had to be INTUITIVE. Not just 
telepathic, but know something's wrong: I don't like 
the look of that guy...or that window... or that's a 
bad place there... 

RE: Why are bodyguards doing such a bad job these 
days? 

WSB: They're just not paying attention to what 
they're doing, that's all. They've never been up 
against real professionals. Well, they're not now - 
Hinckley's not a professional. But de Gaulle's 
bodyguards were up against army officers with 
money and weapons and knowing how to use them 
- not .22 pistols!... The week before President 
Kennedy was assassinated, he was in New York. He 
stopped at a red light and some girl rushed up and 
photographed him from a distance of three feet. 
Someone said 'She could’ve killed the President!' 
That was a week before Dallas! But that didn't seem 
to inspire them to tighten their security. Of course, 
protection from a rifle with a telescopic sight is not 
so easy. But de Gaulle's men, they covered all the 
buildings along his route... That Ruby and Oswald 
thing stunk to high heaven, the whole thing... 

RE: What do you think of the theory that Jonestown 
was a CIA experiment in mass mind control — 

WSB: It's conceivable, conceivable. We KNOW that 
they've performed such experiments in countries like 
Brazil... and in Athens, the whole junta was CIA 
inspired. In Brazil all these experiments in control 
and torture etc. were definitely CIA organised - we 
KNOW that. They sent all these torture experts down 
to South and Central America. Did you see 'City 
Under Siege', I think that was the name of it. It was 





WILLIAM S BURROUGHS • 83 


about... one of these CIA torture experts was 
kidnapped by the Tupamaros in Uruguay. He was 
sent down there as a police advisor. So they 
kidnapped him and they finally killed him. And then 
- at the end of the movie - you see another one 
getting out of the plane... 

RE: Do you think they could take a disoriented 
person out of prison and programme him to become 
an assassin and the person wouldn't really know 
exactly what he's doing? 

WSB: I think it's possible, but it seems to me more 
trouble than it's worth. If you really want the job 
done you don't want a disordered person, of course 
you've got an alibi there, no one can pin it on you, 
but... still, it's an around-the-world-oxcart way of 
doing it! But it's certainly within the range of 
possibility. 

RE: What about telepathic suggestions to the subject 
while they're asleep? 

WSB: Well, they wouldn't have to be telepathic - 
they could do that with microphones, sort of 
subliminal microphones. As to how effective the 
suggestions would be I just don't know. All these 
people are talking about hearing voices, telling them 
to do these things. Now where do the voices come 
from? Well this is one of the symptoms, of course, of 
schizophrenia, and we know now that the voices 
come from the non-dominant brain hemisphere, 
whichever that is. In fact you can PRODUCE voices by 
electrical stimulation of the non-dominant brain 
hemisphere in normal subjects. So that's the line to 
take - if you can get into the non-dominant brain 
hemisphere, then it has this terrific power: people 
can't disobey it. But only certain people would be 
subject to that sort of brain conditioning. 

RE: How can we strengthen our psychic defences? 
WSB: There are whole books on that. Dion Fortune 
wrote a fairly good one - Psychic Self Defence. It's 
not a bad book, a bit old-fashioned, but there's 
some good tips in there. How to know when you're 
under psychic attack, what to do about it, and so on. 
There are quite a few, there's something by David 
Conway called Magic: An Occult Primer, that's a very 
good book. 

RE: Have you heard anything new in the field of 
biological warfare? 

WSB: Well, we know that the English had what they 
called a 'doomsday bug' in World War II - which was 
created by exposing viruses to radiation and 
producing mutated strains. That's more than FORTY 
YEARS AGO! They've come a long way since then! 
And also there are ethnic weapons that would attack 
only whites or blacks or mongoloids or whatever 
because of their racial enzyme differences. So they 
can devise a plague that would attack only one 
ethnic group. That also is pretty old: the first 
statement about that was over fifteen years ago. So 
they've come a long way on that one too. 

RE: What do you think of the hardcore survivalist 
movement in the USA? Stockpiling dried food, 
weapons... ? 

WSB: It could be, I suppose, a good idea, but then 


there's the question, you might not be able to get to 
your stash! [drily] And you gotta be able to defend 
it and all that! You have several priorities: your first 
priority is weapons, second is drugs, third is tools, 
antibiotics... 

RE: When you say tools, do you mean like water 
purification devices? 

WSB: No no no. I mean tools! Hammers, saws. If you 
don't have them, it's very bad! 

RE: By the way, do you still record your dreams? 
WSB: Oh, of course! I'll write down a few notes, and 
then if it's worth bothering with, I'll write it out in 
a diary form... 



Burroughs, rue Git le Coeur (photo: Anthony Batch) 




THE JOHNSON FAMILY 



William S Burroughs 


I first heard this expression in a book called 'You 
Can't Win' by Jack Black, the life story of a burglar. 
The book was published in 1924 and I read it as a 
boy, fascinated by this dark furtive purposeful world. 
I managed to get a copy and re-read the book with 
poignant nostalgia. Between the reader in 1924 and 
the reader in 1980 falls the shadow of August 6, 
1945, one of the most portentous dates of history. 

Train whistles across a distant sky. This is a peep 
show back to the world of rod-riding yeggs and peat 
men and cat burglars, bindle stiffs, gay cats and 
hobo jungles and Salt Chunk Mary the fence in her 
two-storey red brick house down by the tracks 
somewhere in Idaho. She keeps a blue porcelain 
coffee pot and an iron pot of pork and beans always 
in the fire. You eat first and talk business later the 
watches and rings sloped out on the kitchen table by 
the chipped coffee mugs. She named a price and she 
didn't name another. Mary could say no quicker than 
any woman I ever know and none of them ever 
meant yes. She kept the money in a cookie jar but 
nobody thought about that. Her cold grey eyes 
would have seen the thought and maybe something 
goes wrong on the next lay. John Law just happens 
by or a citizen comes up with a load of .00 buck shot 
into your soft and tenders. 

In this world of shabby rooming houses, furtive 
grey figures in dark suits, hop joints and chili 
parlours the Johnson Family took shape as a code of 
conduct. To say someone is a Johnson means he 
keeps his word and honours his obligations. He's a 


good man to do business with and a good man to 
have on your team. He is not a malicious, snooping, 
interfering, self-righteous trouble-making person. 

You get to know a Johnson when you see one, 
and you get to know those of another persuasion. I 
remember in the Merchant Marine training centre at 
Sheepshead Bay when the war ended. Most of the 
trainees quit right then and there was a long line to 
turn in equipment which had to be checked out item 
by item; some of us had only been there a few days 
and we had no equipment to turn in. So we hoped 
to avoid standing for hours, days perhaps in line for 
no purpose. I remember this spade cat said, "Well 
we're going to meet a nice guy or we're going to 
meet a prick. ” We met a prick but we managed to 
find a Johnson. 

Yes, you get to know a Johnson when you see 
one. The cop who gave me a joint to smoke in the 
wagon. The hotel clerk who tipped me off I was hot. 
And sometimes you don't see the Johnson. I 
remember a friend of mine asked someone to send 
him a cake of hash from France. Well, the asshole 
put it into a cheap envelope with no wrapping and 
it cut through the envelope. But some Johnson had 
put it back in and sealed the envelope with tape. 

Years ago I was stranded in the wilds of East Texas 
and Bill Gains was sending me a little Pantapon 
through the mail and he invented this clever code 
and telegrams are flying back and forth. 

"Urgently need pants." 

"Panic among dealers. No pants available." 



WILLIAM S BURROUGHS • 85 



This was during the war in a town of 200 people. 
By rights we should have had the FBI swarming all 
over us. I remember the telegraph operator in his 
office in the railroad station. He had a kind, 
unhappy face. I suspect he was having trouble with 
his wife. Never a question or comment. He just didn't 
care what pants stood for. He was a Johnson. 

A Johnson minds his own business. But he will help 
when help is needed. He doesn't stand by while 
someone is drowning or trapped in a wrecked car. 
Kells Elvins, a friend of mine, was doing 90 in his 
Town and Country Chrysler on the way from Pharr, 
Texas to Laredo. He comes up over a rise and there 
is a fucking cow right in the middle of the road on 
the bridge. He slams on the brakes and hits the cow 
doing 60. The car flips over and he is pinned under 
it with a broken collar bone covered from head to 
foot with blood and guts and cowshit. So along 
comes a car with some salesmen in it. They get out 
cautiously. He tells them just how to jack the car up 
and get it off him but when they see that blood they 


don't want to know. They don't want to get mixed 
up with anything like that. They get back in their car 
and drive away. Then a truck driver comes along. He 
doesn't need to be told exactly what to do, gets the 
car off Kells and takes him to a hospital. The truck 
driver was a Johnson. The salesmen were shits like 
most salesmen. Selling shit and they are shit. 

The Johnson Family formulates a Manichean 
position where good and evil are in conflict and the 
outcome is at this point uncertain. It is not an 
eternal conflict since one or the other must win a 
final victory. 

Which side are you on? 

I recollect Brion Gysin, Ian Sommerville and your 
reporter were drinking an expresso on the terrace of 
a little cafe on the Calle de Vigne in Tangier... after 
lunch a dead empty space... Then this Spaniard walks 
by. He is about 50 or older, shabby, obviously very 
poor, carrying something wrapped in brown paper. 
And our mouths fell open as we exclaimed in unison. 

"My God, that's a harmless looking person!" 



86 • RAPID EYE 1 


He passed and I never saw him again, his passing 
portentous as a comet reminding us how rare it is to 
see a harmless-looking person, a man who minds his 
own business and gets along as best he can in a 
world largely populated by people of a very 
different persuasion, kept alive by the hope of 
harming someone, on their way to the Commissaria 
to denounce a neighbour or a business rival leaving 
squiggles and mutterings of malevolence in their 
wake like ugly little spirits. 

He passed and I never saw him again. But I 
recognized him. He was a Johnson. You get to know 
a Johnson when you see one... the cop in New 
Orleans who slipped me a joint to smoke in the 
paddy wagon, the doctor who gave me a shot of 
morphine in the hospital while a colleague was 
muttering about the moral questions involved, the 
hotel clerk who tipped me the law is on its way, 
better move out fast. 

February 3,1982... A programme on San Salvador... 
a reporter has contacted a guerilla group. One look 
at those faces and I know where I stand. I know 
them all. They are Johnsons. The reporter is checking 
the contention of the junta and the Reagan 
administration and the guerillas are armed with 
soviet Weapons via Cuba and Nicaragua... 

"Let's see your guns ." 

Young man has a Belgian assault rifle 9M... 
handsome boy about 20 has an Ml6, a little fat boy 
about 16 has a .22 held together with wire and tape. 

“Fifty years old," he tells us, smiling. 

Man in his thirties, nice smile: "Me, I got no gun." 

"Well where are the Russian K-47s you are 
supposed to be getting from Cuba?" 

"No hay." (There aren't any). 

Look at these facts. Nice faces. Johnson faces. You 
can't fake it. That old Spaniard couldn't have been 
a KGB Colonel, or a Cousin, or MI6. No agent could 
have that cover. Because it isn't a cover. It's the real 
thing. 

Three guns for 20 men. Shy handsome boy of 15 
has been with the guerillas since he was 14. Why? 
No ideology no rubbish. Self defence. Once you take 
up arms against a bunch of shits there is no way 
back. Lay down your arms and they will kill you. I've 
seen the Policia Nacionale in action in Colombia 
during the civil war. Vicious thugs. No Johnson faces 
there. 

That's all the orientation I need to make up my 
mind about San Salvador. Don't want to hear Haig's 
lies or any other lies. Haig is no Johnson. He's got 
one of the most basically dishonest faces I ever saw. 
And the same look on his face when he lies as 
General Westmoreland... LIE LIE LIE written all over 
it. 



SMILE 

An Introduction To Neoism 


A Rapid Eye Report 


"/ didn't want what happened to me to happen. NEOISM?! was given to me. A gift 
from God or the devil, but something I didn't want." 


1 . 

ANOTHER INTRODUCTION TO NEOISM 

A Monty Cantsin 

No matter how much we may be capable of learning 
the past, it will not enable us to know the future. 

When everyone is dead NEOISM is finished. Not 
before. 

For no matter what learned scientists may say, 
NEOISM is politically speaking, not the beginning of 
humanity but its end, not the origin of peoples but 
their decay, not the natural birth of man but his 
unnatural death. 

Is this confusing and contradictory? 

Of course it is. 

For legends attract the very best in our times, just 
as ideologies attract the average, and the whispered 
tales of gruesome secret powers behind the scenes 
attract the very worst. 


No doubt, no political structure could have been 
more evocative of legendary tales than NEOISM, 
than the Neoist conspirators drifting from the 
conscious founding of research centres into ruling 
and dominating the world. 

Legends have always played a powerful role in the 
making of history. 

Legends were the spiritual foundations of every 
ancient city, empire, people, promising safe guidance 
through the limitless spaces of the future. 

Legends made MONTY CANTSIN master of what he 
had done, and capable of dealing with what he 
could not undo. 

The nineteenth century has offered us the curious 
spectacle of an almost simultaneous birth of the 
most varying and contradictory ideologies, each of 



88 • RAPID EYE 1 


which claimed to know the hidden truth about 
otherwise incomprehensible facts. 

Legends however are not ideologies, they do not 
aim at universal explanation, but are always 
concerned with concrete facts. 

The foundation legend of NEOISM, as Istvan 
Kantor tells it, starts from the fundamental reality of 
the neoist conspirators. 

Surrounded by misery, they need and win help of 
the three elements of CONVULSION, SUBVERSION, 
DEFECTION, through the invention of Neoist 
Apartment Festivals. 

“We will win the world," says Monty Cantsin, the 
open-pop-star leader-character of NEOISM (NEOISM 
is the only school of character in modern art), 
without anyone caring how we did it: we will keep 
the world without anyone knowing how we did it: 
and we will carry the world on our backs without 
anyone seeing how we did it" 

But neither we, nor our sons will get anything out 
of that conspiracy except IDEAS. 

According to a close friend, Ackerman, the well 
known psicolizer, Monty Istvan Kantor Cantsin, 
expects to live for at least five thousand years. 

"It is his duty to do what he wants," declared 
recently Dr Ackerman who is also a founder member 
of the 14 Secret Masters of the Universe. "He feels 
himself a god - nothing less." 

It is obvious that the Neoists feel no obligation to 
man-made laws. "We are not subject to the lies of 
science. ” 

The only 'law' they obey is the law of expansion 
and the only proof of their 'law fullness' is success. 

They (the Neoists) are monsters of conceit in their 
success and monsters of modesty in their failure. 

Kantor took great delight in his Monty Cantsin 
role that demanded a reconditioning of his whole 
personality. 


He fitted into NEOISM. 




NEOISM • 89 



J\ message Trom 

MONTY CANTSIN 

SELF APPONTED LEADER OF THE 
PEOPLE OF THE LOIR EAST SIDE 


HARDART SINGER 

Neoist Headquarters N.Y.C. 1987 


989-1976 





90 • RAPID EYE 1 


2 . 

THE ORIGIN OF NEOISM MANIFESTO 

The Monty Cantsin Commando announce the 
beginning of NEOISM. 

We know that there were several efforts made to 
start NEOISM in the past 10 years in North-America 
and Europe but these were just insignificant, 
unimportant and unofficial attempts with no success. 

The Monty Cantsin Commando declare that NEOISM 
never has been before and the First Neoist Manifesto 
was printed in Taiwan, on Oct 23, 1987, at 1.34 pm. 

A few minutes later The Monty Cantsin Commando 
took over the world's biggest TV stations and Monty 
Cantsin gave the following speech: 

"Hello." 

Within the next second he was assassinated by The 
Monty Cantsin Commando. 

But of course a miracle happened and the bloody 
and wounded Monty Cantsin continued his speech: 

"I am your immortal friend." 

At this moment all members of The Monty Cantsin 
Commando committed suicide. 

Monty Cantsin went on saying: 

"/ hope you enjoyed this opening ceremony." 

Members of The Monty Cantsin Commando got up, 
dried their blown up, bloody heads and smiled to 
the cameras. 

"From now" - continued Monty Cantsin - "we are all 
immortal friends. Killing and suicide are popular 
forms of amusement." 

THE BIRTH OF MONTY CANTSIN FROZEN BOB-STAR 

(-e) 

The Monty Cantsin Commando announced the birth 
of Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star, —e. 

We know that there were many self-appointed 
Monty Cantsins in the past 10 years but all of them 
were fake, false prophets, so called open-pop-stars. 

Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star (—e) was born just a 
few seconds ago but —e is already bigger and 
stronger than King Kong, more powerful than Lenin 
and the Russian Revolution, and wiser than Einstein. 

There is only one frozen-bob-star (—e). 


—e is well guarded and protected by The Monty 
Cantsin Commando against hate, insults, mail-art, 
journalists, plagiarists, shitheads, etc. 

Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star (—e) does not want 
to communicate with you and does not want to 
participate in your activities. 

Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star (—e) only reminds 
you that you are not Monty Cantsin. 

You are just a starving artist who wants to be 
famous and rich by using the name of Monty 
Cantsin. 

For this you have to suffer and you have to send 
your welfare check to Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star 
(-e). 

—e will use your money to control you and to have 
total domination on you. 

Monty Cantsin frozen-bob-star (—e) is the newborn 
dictator of the world, the King of NEOISM. 




NE01SM • 91 


3. 

THE NEOISTS 

Pete Scott 

"We are not a dead serious political party or 
religious institution; we are Neoists. Each decade has 
Neoists and their situation is always different. We 
formed a network to revolt against oppression, and 
we hope that our efforts will end with big 
retrospective exhibitions in the world's most 
established museums, because we know that each 
revolution ends with the imprisonment and 
execution of its leaders and participants..." 

These are the considered words of Hungarian 'total 
media artist 1 Monty Cantsin, a charismatic, 
self-obsessed technophile (“I love mass media") who 
repudiates all forms of authority. Cantsin was 
actually christened Istvan Kantor, but changed his 
name at the instigation of American mail artist David 
Zack. The two met for the first time in Budapest circa 
mid-1976 and struck up a close working relationship. 
On Zack's advice Kantor emigrated to Canada in 
September 1977, and established a base of 
operations in Montreal. Today he is known 
throughout America and Europe as Monty Cantsin, 
high priest of Neoism, "the mass movement of 
individuality" (sic). “We Neoists are at the beginning 
of an unprecedented history," he says; "kill normality 
before it kills you." 

A mercurial, deliberately enigmatic figure, Cantsin 
always provokes extreme reactions. He embraced the 
Neoist Cultural Conspiracy in 1979, and has been 
co-ordinating its activities ever since. "We are not 
any more artists," he explains in characteristically 
fractured English, "but most of our members have 
the artistic background. Most of them came from art, 
but there are others who came from science and 
many other kinds of activity. We call ourselves 
Neoists because a Neoist is not just an artist, a Neoist 
is another kind of human being more involved in 
social and cultural activities." 

The Neoist information conduit was actually 
devised in the early '70s by the aforesaid David Zack. 
Established first in the mail art network, it later 
spread to apartment festivals and is now heavily into 
mass communications. In essence it's a loose-knit 
cultural junta founded on the undeniable fact that 
traditional art is dead. One slogan defines it as 
“Nothing more than the performance of a 
movement called Neoism.” Another explains that 
“You cannot understand Neoism without first of all 
becoming a Neoist." 

To Monty Cantsin Neoism is "The fight for total 
freedom through all forms of creativity." There are 
almost as many definitions as there are individual 
Neoists. Cantsin himself is the movement's most 
eloquent spokesman, trotting out any polemic that 
may bring publicity or interest. "Neoism is an open 


situation, ’ he says. "In the beginning it was so new 
that it didn't even have a definition. Today of course 
there are thousands of them - but the best 
definition of Neoism is always the next one!" 

Neoism stresses the value and importance of new 
ideas. Its central tenet is simply that anyone can take 
on the mantle of Monty Cantsin and perform actions 
in his name. As a key manifesto by Stewart Home 
explains: “Monty Cantsin is the ultimate art product, 
and ultimately we must all become Monty Cantsin. 
As society has become increasingly drained of real 
individuality, the emphasis in art has shifted away 
from the art object onto the personality of the artist. 
Monty Cantsin is an artist with such a strong 
personality that a unique name is unnecessary to his 
individuality." 

Although it is available for general use, only Karen 
Eliot has taken the conceptual persona of Monty 
Cantsin to extremes. "I am a true individual in a 
world where individuality is a crime," she says with 
disarming modesty. "I have witnessed the 
dematerialization of the art object and I know that 
the only art work still worth creating is my own life." 

Kantor likes to dramatise himself as a kind of 
latterday Andre Breton. He presently dominates the 
Canadian performance art scene with a calculated 
blend of violence, eroticism and self-immolation. His 
continuous action since 1979 has been the so-called 
'Blood Campaign', a tactic derived from the body 
artists of the '70s. During live performances a nurse 
appears onstage and methodically draws from his 
arm two phials of blood. The phials are then signed 
by Kantor and sold as objects of value. These displays 
have drawn criticism from some quarters, but Cantsin 
himself remains cheerfully unrepentant. "Yes, I sell 
my blood to finance the Neoist Cultural Conspiracy ," 
he disclosed in a recent personal letter; “it's my job, 
my occupation, but anybody can do it. This year 
alone I've made at least twenty blood paintings 
during live actions - on canvas, T-shirts and white 
ballerina costumes worn by a live model. I always 
have fun doing it." 

With his Blood Campaign rituals and related 
activities, Kantor displays an implicit sense of how to 
feed into other systems of thought and 
communication. (Parenthetically, he is also one of 
Canada's premier recording artists with a number of 
excellent 12" releases to his credit.) Under his 
guidance the Neoist Embassy in Montreal has 
become the central information filter for a global 
network of conspirators. Together these conspirators 
have explored many diverse media, appearing at 
film, music and performance festivals throughout 
North America and Europe. They now have work on 
display in several art galleries and private collections. 



92 • RAPID EYE 1 



and have published a seemingly endless succession of 
manifestos. Much of their written material, 
particularly that of Stewart Home, extols the virtues 
of plagiarism, "a revolutionary tool uniquely suited 
to meet the demands of the late twentieth century." 
Film and video presentations depict elements from 
contemporary Neoist mythology; live performances 
are designed to shock and provoke the viewer with 
"primitive corporal information, giant-screen 
perversion and psycho-dramatic counter-actions." 

One of the chief aims of this activity is simply to 
gain attention for Cantsin and his circle. As Stewart 
Home long ago pointed out, "Most Neoists would 
stoop to anything to achieve a little scandalized 
press coverage." Kantor, he added, “even went as 
far as pointing out to an attendant that he had 
thrown his blood over an art gallery wall, hoping 
that this action would get him arrested. He was 
disappointed." (Home renounced Neoism some years 
ago, but as it is a movement based on paradox, irony 
and conceptual gestures, he remains one of its 
foremost British exponents, editing with others a 
number of Neoist/Situationist-inspired pamphlets and 
magazines, such as Smile under various names 
including Sharon Slapper and Karen Eliot). 

It's true that Cantsin values dramatic, flourishing 
gestures over cold, hard specifics, but this in no way 
diminishes his importance. An accomplished media 
manipulator, he is able to take liberties by virtue of 
his sheer audacity. At worst he appears to be that 
rare breed of person, a mythomaniac, someone 
whose estimate of his own value is so high that he 
feels justified in inventing a legend that moulds it 
“closer to the heart's desire.’ Reviled by the 


establishment press for his various attention- 
grabbing strategies, he nevertheless continues to 
chart new frontiers of outrage. His riposte to his 
critics is typically oblique: "This Monty Cantsin job is 
one of the most difficult ones I ever got, and it is not 
easy to accomplish it and balance the fictive and real 
parts. Of course, you can always kill me if you want, 
but I’ll never die because I'm immortal, a six-fingered 
electronic entity, oh yes..." 





SEX WITHOUT SECRETIONS 






94 • RAPID EYE 1 


4 . 

NEOISM AS NEGATION 

AND THE NEGATION OF NEOISM 

Stewart Home 

There are many ways in which it's possible to explain 
the phenomenon of Neoism. A prosaic history of the 
movement would probably suggest that Neoism 
started life as No Ism, a concept invented during the 
late seventies by David Zack, Al Ackerman and Maris 
Kundzin in Portland, Oregon. No Ism was an open, 
inclusive and anti-ideological grouping of individuals 
who saw themselves as artists opposed to the gallery 
system. This idea was transmitted to a group of 
French Canadians via Istvan Kantor who'd fled 
Hungary on a student visa after David Zack enticed 
him to decamp to North America with the aid of 
some colour xeroxes. Kiki Bonbon and the rest of the 
crowd Kantor befriended in Montreal then hit upon 
the idea of transforming No Ism into Neoism and 
parodying the legacy of the twentieth-century avant- 
garde. 

The French Canadians had a gang mentality and 
Kantor found himself on the fringes of the group. 
Bonbon and his pals called their Hungarian friend 
'grandpa' because he was in his early thirties. In an 
attempt to overcome his isolation, Kantor cultivated 
international contacts. Individuals such as 'tentatively 
a convenience' in Baltimore and Peter Below in 
Germany got involved with the group but Kantor 
remained a fringe figure who never fully understood 
the Neoist project. Kantor's cluelessness as to what 
was going on around him is legendary. Al Ackerman 
once told me that when Kantor arrived in Portland 
in 1978, the Hungarian was informed that a mentally 
retarded man who hung out with Zack would act as 
his manager and get his singing career off to a flying 
start. As the weeks passed, Kantor became 
increasingly abusive about the retard, regularly 
indulging in hysterical fits where he'd scream 'this 
guy is useless, he's supposed to be my manager but 
he hasn't got me any gigs'. Once he settled in 
Montreal, Kantor lived off the extremely generous 
Canadian grant system for the arts and established a 
reputation as a tame performance artist who was 
happy to work within the gallery system. In stark 
contrast to this, the bulk of the Neoist Network was 
made up of potential iconoclasts who spent much of 
their time challenging consensus reality. However, 
Kantor's conventionality resulted in much of the 
press coverage the Neoists received during their early 
days, focusing on him as an individual. Such verbiage 
now looks ridiculous - but rather than proceeding 
with a conventional interpretation of Neoism, I'm 
going to be more elliptical in my approach to the 
subject. 

Allegorically, Neoism could be explained in the 
following fashion: during the middle ages there was 
a succession of heresies that have been described by 


the historian Norman Cohn as 'mystical anarchism'. 
Adherents to these creeds believed that all goods 
should be held in common and that many things 
considered sinful by the Roman Catholic Church were 
in fact virtues when practised by the elect. Ranked 
among the more interesting of these sects are the 
Bohemian Adamites. On 21 October 1421, four 
hundred trained soldiers moved against the Adamite 
heretics and virtually wiped them out. By a miracle, 
their leader - known both as 'Adam' and 'Moses' - 
escaped to Prague. 'Adam' then took on a disciple, 
who in his turn, trained up a further initiate after his 
master's death. In this way, the Adamite creed was 
passed down through the ages and the Neoist 
Network is simply a contemporary manifestation of 
this ancient heresy. Viewing Neoism through the 
prism of this allegory makes imagery associated with 
the group accessible to those who have not been 
initiated into its ranks. When the Neoists speak 
about Akademgorod as their 'promised land', this is 
actually a code name for Prague. According to Neoist 
eschatology, Prague is the omphalos of our planet 
and once the movement seizes control of the city, 
the ancient Adamite plan of world domination will 
be effortlessly realised. 

In keeping with this allegorical interpretation of 
Neoism, the initiation of individuals into the 
movement must necessarily be described as follows: 
the candidate is blindfolded and led into a darkened 
room. The fourteen secret masters of the world (or 
at least a group of available Neoists) interrogate the 
initiate. As a sign of obedience to the order, the 
candidate must answer 'yes' to a series of ninety-five 
questions. After this humiliating set-piece - in which 
the initiate admits to being a complete sexual failure 
- the candidate is fucked by every member of the 
lodge and then symbolically reborn by the removal 
of the blindfold. If this sounds an unlikely allegory, 
it's only because the story is - to an extent - literally 
true. John Berndt was kept blindfolded for a period 
of seven days during the so-called 'Millionth' Neoist 
Apartment Festival. During this time he was 
subjected to gropings and other sexual stimulations, 
made to carry dangerously sharp objects on the New 
York subway in the rush hour, had his usual sleep 
patterns completely disrupted, was flipped upside 
down and forced to run on his hands, etc. 

Unfortunately, no-one ever succeeded in ordering 
the rather loosely organised Neoist Network into a 
masonic structure. Pete Horobin made a brave 
attempt with his Data Cell project but this 
operation was ultimately a failure. Of the various 
twentieth-century avant-garde movements, only the 
Surrealists and the Situationist International came 




NECMSM • 95 









96 • RAPID EYE 1 


anywhere dose to replicating the classic structure of 
a secret society. Until 1984, Neoism was most 
obviously influenced by Futurism, Dada, Fluxus, Mail 
Art and Punk. I managed to forge a few links with 
the Situationist tradition after joining the group but 
my comrades lacked the discipline to make the most 
of this input. 

Ultimately, Neoism derives the little historical 
importance it can now claim from the fact that it 
acted as a false dawn prior to my organisation of the 
far more significant Plagiarist and Art Strike 
movements. 

The Neoists wanted to avoid any single meaning 
being imposed on their activities and believed that 
by bombarding their movement with a series of 
contradictory interpretations, they would split the 
meme and simultaneously create a monadic 
earthquake fierce enough to destroy world culture in 
its entirety. Thus Neoism was viewed simultaneously 
as modernist, post-modernist, an avant-garde 
transgression of modern and post-modern traditions, 
as underground, Neo-Dadaist and an outgrowth of 
Fluxus. It was also a rejection of all these things. 

Like every other avant-garde group, the Neoists 
hoped to project an image of themselves as the very 
latest trend in culture, and this accounts for the 
more archaic aspects of their project. The occult 
elements provided a perfect counterpoint to the 
movement's faddish innovations, making these 
appear even more new-fangled and up-to-the- 
minute. It was a technique that had been employed 
very successfully by the Dadaists, Surrealists and 
Situationists. 

Ultimately, the Neoist project was a failure because 
most of those involved with the group paid no heed 
to the lessons to be learnt from the critique of the 
image made by the Situationists and within Auto- 
Destructive Art. While the details of the Situationist 
theory are fatally flawed - partially due to Debord's 
obsession with the Stuart succession - the notion of 
the spectacle is still of some use to those who wish 
to break with the world as it is and create a new 
tomorrow. 

The avant-garde is in many ways a return of the 
repressed, the re-emergence of Protestant iconoclasm 
in a post-Christian world where art serves as a 
secular religion justifying the activities of a 
murderous ruling class. For example, in 1441 Hugh 
Knight went into a Cornish church and burnt the 
chin off a statue of the Virgin mary. The result was 
a work in which the Virgin appeared to have grown 
a beard, making this act of image-breaking an 
important precursor to Duchamp's moustached Mona 
Lisa. 

The Specto-Situationist obsession with text is an 
inevitable result of the group's assault on the image. 
Guy DeBord would have felt very much at home if 
he'd ever had the opportunity to hang out with the 
Bible-thumping Lollards of the middle ages. The 
word is sacred, idolatry (the dominance of the 
Spectacle) an ever-lasting sin. Before heaven is 
realised on earth and every wo/man can live in their 


own cathedral, the word must be accepted and the 
sensuous image stamped into the ground by a legion 
of jack-booted Debordists. The critique of the image 
made by Gustav Metzger, who used acid to 
simultaneously create and destroy 'auto-destructive' 
works, was a far more incisive response to Judaic, 
Islamic and Protestant traditions of iconoclasm than 
that of the Specto-Situationists. 

While I remained within the Neoist Network, I was 
unable to synthesise these and other forms of 
contemporary iconoclasm. After breaking with 
Neoism, I announced the 1990 Art Strike which 
brought together innumerable types of idol¬ 
breaking. Once I'd fashioned this coffin for the 
corpse of art and defiantly nailed my ninety-five 
these to the lid, the Neoists realised they'd been 
decisively outflanked. It was at this point that they 
began to claim my post-Neoist activities as an 
integral part of their project. 

Today, when a Neoist or one of their friends writes 
about the group, I become the star of the 
movement. Neoism is no longer an attempt at 
negation via the destruction of the meme. For the 
past five years, various ex-members of the group 
have attempted to claim successful examples of 
iconoclasm - such as the Art Strike - as being 
somehow related to their personal activities. And so, 
while Neoism is of no significance whatsoever and 
this is its most interesting attribute, the search for 
truth increasingly resembles a quest for an unholy 
grail. Although I split the meme in 1985, what 
actually matters is how long news of this 
achievement takes to spread among the various 
populations of the world. 




NEOISM • 97 


5 . 

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A NEOIST 

Istvan Kantor 

I was 9 years old when I wrote The Immortal 
Cowboy, a western type fiction inspired by the books 
of Cooper and Carl May. At the age of 19 I wrote a 
play. The Secret Of Immortality, an absurd comedy in 
which the 'Master', "a great artist", reveals the 
secret of his long life and successful career: He 
urinates in the bath since childhood. 

In 1967 I discovered a mass grave, near the State 
Hospital in Budapest and collected a bunch of skulls 
and boxes of bones. In July, 1978, in Portland, 
Oregon I found an amazingly strange object, 
something like a lamp, which I haven't been able to 
identify and called it "Portland UFO". It is the 
fundamental inspirational object of NEOISM?!. 

Once my teacher sent me home from school to 
change shoes because he didn't like the ones I was 
wearing. I had decorated them with flowers and 
slogans such as "Tat Ivam Asi" (you are me), "Amo 
amari ama", (if you want to be loved, love). At home 
I put on my beatnik boots, but before I could leave 
the house my mother came back and demanded I 
change them because "these are not for school". So 
finally I left in a pair of shiny black shoes, but, in the 
street, since it was really warm, I took them off and 
continued bare foot. Before I reached the next 
corner a policeman stopped me and ordered me to 
put them on. Back in school my teacher said that my 
new shoes were too elegant and he would rather see 
me bare foot. 

Between 1967 and '69, before beginning my 
medical studies, for a while I was working as a sick 
and dead carrier and later I became a nurse. 

Ten years later in Montreal, in Sept 1977, I got a 
job in a sheepskin manufacturer as a cutter. In this 
period of immigration I also experienced 
dishwashing, office cleaning and later I became a 
machine operator in the "Plastic Brain Factory" 
(named by me from the brain looking plastic waste). 
My first band had been the 'Trogerek' (from the 
German word "trogen", a "troger" is a heavy 
worker, usually underpaid, unrespected). Later it 
became 'Hivok' (The Believers), still in highschool 
years. Then came the infamous 'Drazse Express' 
neo-dada anti-music group, from 1968 to 1972. 
Meanwhile I also had my one-man band 'Pop 
Kantor'. In 1973 I formed 'Kantor Inform', an 
urban-folk/political song trio. In 1976 in Paris I 
became a lonely subway-singer but a few months 
later I reorganized 'Kantor Inform Budapest/Paris'. 

In 1978 I formed THE MONTY CANTSIN'S 
INTERNATIONAL STREET MYTH BLUES BAND with 
David Zack and Eric Stewart, in Portland. There I also 
played with Smegma and did solo acts under the 
names of Kantor Inform, Bertolt Bartok and Monty 
Cantsin. 


From 1979 to 1982 I had no band, however I 
collaborated with Lion Lazer, Bill Vorn (Rational 
Youth), Tristan Renaud and other musicians. In 1982 
I formed 'Flaming Neoists' which later became 'First 
Aid Brigade'. After disbanding F.A.B. in 1984 I 
decided to stay solo. Only a few years later in New 
York I have been able to start a new band with DJ 
Steve, called 'Hungarian Folk Music'. We developed 
our own scrapmetal-propaganda style and still 
continue in this direction. Recently, in 1990,1 formed 
a new band in Montreal, 'NOMEN EST OMEN', from 
members of Phycus, the Neoist Machine Group. 

Between 1972 and '75 things were more confusing 
than ever. As a result of my artistic ambitions and my 
participation at illegal political manifestations I 
dropped out from the university. In fact this was the 
only way to avoid to become a toy in the hands of 
the authorities. My nervous system developed a 
claustrophobic syndrome. I couldn't stay on a bus for 
more than 5 minutes. It took me a lot of wine, beer, 
brandy and valium to suppress my erupting rage. I 
escaped to the country and spent a lot of time with 
fishing, yoga, daydreaming, love. I fell in love for the 
first time at age 12 and since then I haven't been 
able to recover. I have gone through many 
experiences and I consider love to be the cause of 
everything, including Neoism?!. 

The history of Neoism?! is a love story. Love is a 
burning, bleeding, flaming, singing, flying, dancing, 
fucking monster. In 1982 I was travelling in North 
America and in Europe carrying my own, life size, 
gold bust. Often it was the only thing I carried with 
me. It was a great object with which to produce 
cinematic conversations with border inspectors, to 
increase my self-confidence and to enhance my 
reputation. Some people, without a sense of absurd 
humour, criticised me for being extremely egotistic, 
self-admiring, or completely mad. 

Between 1983 and '85 I kept six white rats in my 
apartment. They became permanent participants of 
Neoist?! events, performances, concerts, ceremonies, 
exhibitions. I immortalized their life and death in a 
super 8 movie, entitled Rat Life. They travelled with 
us on shorter trips. When they died I skinned them, 
and produced a special Rat Smile issue of their hides. 

In 1984, during a long and continuous trip across 
Europe and Canada I produced a film in which I'm 
wearing a fish hat. Though I changed 'hats' a few 
times (from Surany, Hungary to Atnabasca, Columbia 
Icefield, Canada) I tried to keep each one as long as 
I could because often it was difficult to find the 
same kind of fish (carp) in different countries. 

In the warm weather (May/July) it was a 
challenging experience to travel with a rotten dead 
fish in my suitcase, or on my head. At age 3 I named 



98 • RAPID EYE 1 


myself 'Red Spotty'. I was 13 when I started to sign 
my songs Francesco Stephanus Kantore. For a while 
I called myself Cso! (pronounce 'Tshio', which means 
tube, pipe, but it also became a word for greeting 
among my friends). Names and titles were always 
essential for me. David Zack proposed me 'Monty 
Cantsin' in 1977. 

Another one I really like to use is (—e). My newest 
name is Amen, (since 1990). My office, Neoist 
Research Center, 1980/82, at Venicule Art, Montreal, 
was smaller than my bathroom, but we caused more 
problem to the six storey building than anyone else 
(not talking about the troubles we caused to the 
world). 

In 1986 I installed a new office, the 'Neoist 
Headquarters' in New York City, and declared myself 
"self appointed leader of the people of the Lower 
East Side". I joined the Rivington School and became 
the School's spokesman. The School's slogan is "make 
shit happen" and that's pretty much what we do. 
Our events are the greatest flops and failures. 

In 1989 I joined the Overnational Socialist Party 
and formed the Neoist Front to assist the Party's aims 
and objectives. Things are happening very fast. Since 
Jan. 1st, 1990 I almost died three times, I made at 
least five new blood paintings, I wrote three books, 
led a few victorious revolutions, fell in love 100 
times, ran the marathon twice, gave birth to a 
couple of twins, moved to Mongolia and back, got 
robbed, killed and reincarnated, got married, 
separated and divorced, declared war... 

The purpose of Neoism?! always has been "to get 
away from the prison of art" and "to create open 
situations" (see Love Letter, 1979, the very first 
manifesto of Neoism?!). 

How to explain Neoism?! to hotel detectives, 
museum directors, secret agents; or, why inspectors 
and policemen are so interested to learn about 
Monty Cantsin? 

Extracts From The Blood Campaign Diary 

June 11, 1978, Mirabel Airport, Montreal 
I'm going to Portland (Oregon) to meet David. Two 
years ago, while he was travelling in Europe, he 
visited me in Budapest. He emptied his pockets on a 
white diner table and told me to pick something 
from the many little objects. I picked this black 
lobster pin that I'm wearing on my jacket. It was 
actually a red lobster but I painted it black. Some 
people thought it looked more like a giant spider. I 
added a red cross to it and also a sign "NOMEN EST 
OMEN", written with gold nail polish. 

An inspector stops me at the US passport checking 
and leads me to a small office. I have to empty my 
bag and pockets and place everything on a table. 
Among the things are a pack of condoms, a can of 
red spraypaint, a few rubber stamps, my East 
German camera, vitamins, Monty Cantsin? business 
cards, notebook, homeless passport, naked bed-in 
photos of ZsuZsa and me, letters from David, 


dictionaries, masks, lots of audio cassettes, little 
pieces of rocks, a bottle of rubber cement, etc... 

The inspector seems to be very interested about 
my whole life, my years in Hungary, in Paris, my 
reasons of immigration, my profession, my friends, 
my plans in the United States... 

My airplane has already left but I'm still sitting 
here and answering his questions: "Were you a 
member of the communist party?", "Have you been 
in the army?", "What is your religion?", "What are 
these rubber stamps for?", "Who is Monty Cantsin?", 
"Why do you carry red spray-paint with you?", "Who 
is David Zack?", "Are you a member of any sect?"... 
I almost don't speak any English yet and I try to 
explain everything in French mixed with Hungarian 
words. I have long dark hair, a moustache, and I also 
have a guitar. He probably thinks that I am a 
communist subversive disguised as gypsy musician, 
sent by the KGB to recruit members for a secret 
revolutionary organization. 

And I have to admit that this is almost true, only 
communist should be changed to Neoist?! and KGB 
to 14 Secret Masters of the World. My mission is to 
begin the Monty Cantsin? open-pop-star project, and 
finance the conspiracy by selling my blood. 

May 2, 1980, Hotel Palace, Ukiah (CA) 

I'm performing SHISMIC SUPPER, with the 
collaboration of Kazu Yamogi, Pamela Rome, 
Abdada Le Clair and a nurse. Lazer couldn't make it. 
We left Montreal together on a Greyhound bus, six 
days ago. Lazer brought his urban psycho-punk 
drawings and razor blade images. I had a package of 
neoist propaganda, manifestos, pamphlets, a bunch 
of copies of the new issue of Neo. Our purpose has 
been to bus down to California, takeover Ukiah and 
turn inter-Dada '80 into a neoist riot. At the US 
Border inspection Station we got searched and 
questioned. "What is Neoism?!" Last night Lazer 
performed at No-Galero (my apt) which resulted in 
a long bloody scratch on his unshaved face. When 
the inspector told him that he had to return to 
Montreal I could see flames shooting from his big 
red eyes. 

The hotel security detective follows my steps, a 
look of terror on his fat face. His arms are stiffly 
folded over his massive chest. Hotel Palace is the 
headquarters of Inter-dada '80. When I light a match 
to put fire on my miniature installation of plastic toy 
soldiers, prehistoric animals and other rubbish, the 
security man walks right up to me and announces: 
"You can't do that!" I throw away the matches, give 
a kick to the installation, throw myself to the floor 
and start to convulse in an over-theatrical epileptic 
seizure. Kazu lays on a long dinner table and Pamela 
beats his chest and face with her long black hair. I sit 
down and begin to recite in Hungarian. Abdada 
simultaneously reads Seismic Manifesto in English. "I 
AM MONTY CANTSIN EXTRATERRESTRIAL SEER, SPY 
AND NEOIST, TEMPORARILY STAYING ON EARTH 
AND STUDYING DECISIVE QUESTIONS..." 

The nurse sticks a needle into my vein to take 




NEOISM • 99 


blood from my arm. 

The security man has momentarily gone (probably 
to call the police). 

I remove my clothes. I wear nothing but a wrap of 
clear tape. My penis is taped back between my legs. 

I can see the security detective now with two other 
guys on his side. I squirt the blood into my mouth as 
fast as I can. When I lean over and spit the blood 
into Kazu's mouth and hear the detectives shout 
"THAT'S ENOUGH!". 

They grab me and lead me out of the room. I 
make some efforts to resist but I'm really happy with 
this unexpected ending. 

September 8, 1982. Tribina Mladih, Novi Sad, 
Yugoslavia 

We are hanging the exhibition. It consists of photo 
documents, flyers, manifestos, pamphlets of the 
BLOOD CAMPAIGN, since 1979. The sound system has 
arrived but no luck to get the video equipment yet. 
It's early afternoon and the performance is scheduled 
for 7.30 pm. Two of the organizers, an Art lover and 
another friend, are helping me in the installation. 
This room is on the first floor of a Youth House, a 
community center for multiform cultural activities. 

My exhibition/performance is part of BALKAN 
CAMPAIGN, a Neoist?! conspiracy event across 
Yugoslavia. I am in Europe since early June 
proceeding from country to country, doing my neoist 
missionary job. The tour began with THE NEOIST 
NETWORK'S FIRST EUROPEAN TRAINING CAMP, in 
Wurzburg, W-Germany. We also visited Stiletto in 
Berlin, then moved to Baroni's Agenzia Neoista, 
Forte Dei Marmi, Italy via Switzerland and crossed 
the border from Austria to Hungary in July. Up until 
now we didn't have too much troubles with 
authorities, only the secret police in Wurzburg gave 
Peter Below an appointment because of our illegal 
street actions, graffiti and posters. But right now 
here are two strangers in the exhibition room and 
they are talking in Serbian to the Art Lover and the 
other friend. It is pretty obvious that they are 
plain-clothes policemen. I'm keeping myself busy 
with the sound system. 

Then the Art Lover reports to me that they have to 
go somewhere with the secret agents. I'm allowed to 
stay. 

While waiting for their return I get acquainted 
with Anita, a cultural assistant of the culture house. 

Anita is very eager to know everything about 
Neoism?!, Monty Cantsin?, Blood Campaign, 
conspiracy... Our meeting very fast develops into a 
sexual exchange in a dressing room. Hours later the 
Art Lover comes back alone to tell that after an 
intensive interrogation they were warned not to 
carry on with the show. Anita gives me a good-bye 
kiss. She is very slender, has medium long dark hair, 
big open eyes, deep melodic voice, long red 
fingernails and probably a mini tape-recorder in her 
cigarette lighter. 


September 21, 1983, Baltimore City Prison, MD 
"They will kill us," Eric yells me from his cell. "We 
are laboratory animals, we are white rats." I wrap 
myself up with toilet paper and try to sleep on the 
metal bench. 

We came down from Montreal for the 7th 
International Neoist Apartment Festival. Last evening 
the police arrested us (Pamela Purdy, Eric Zip and 
me) for posting flyers. Handcuffs, patrol-van, 
questioning at the Central Headquarters. "I am a 
singer and Eric plays guitar. Neoism?! is our music," 
I explained. We got transferred to the City Prison. A 
few days earlier TeNTATIVELY spent a night here for 
his illegal train tunnel ritual, dedicated to the 
ongoing convention of the Church of the SubGenius. 
Eric hasn't been very lucky with Neoism?! A few 
months ago his collaboration ended in a hospital. It 
was our Noah's Ark action in Sherbrooke, Quebec. 
We put an old wreck on fire, danced around it 
holding flaming steam irons, splashed some blood on 
it, etc. Some of us got arrested. Later the whole 
country has been informed by the media that 
"neoists burned rats in a car in the name of art." 
They also claimed that we received $14,000 for this 
event. The reality is that before putting the car on 
fire we removed the rats and for the performance 
we received only $360 honorarium (and spent $445). 
The next day a group of plain-clothes policemen 
raided the premises of The Neoist Embassy in 
Montreal. Going from room to room they were 
repeating the immortal question - "What is 
Neoism?!". They found the white rats in good health 
in their embassy cage. They wanted to know more 
about "a guy in military uniform who fired a gun" 
(a starter pistol), and about someone who was taken 
to the hospital. I can't sleep. "They will kill us," 
continues Eric. "I tell you Monty, we are the white 
rats, they can do anything to us, we'll die in these 
fucking cages, we are only laboratory animals..." 

March 6,1985, Museed'Art Contemporain, Montreal 
I'm standing in front of my very fresh blood 
painting. I finished it a few seconds ago and I'm 
waiting for something to happen. I did it very fast 
and the sleepy security guards didn't see anything. 

Finally I have to yell to one of them, "Monsieur, 
look what I just did!" He approaches and stops at 
me. "What's your problem?" 

"Look, I splashed my blood on the wall." Suddenly 
his mind becomes awake. "Who gave you permission 
to do this?" "Nobody," I say, "this is a gift for the 
Museum, a surprise." Meanwhile another guard gets 
there too. I tell them that I want to talk to the 
director of the Museum. A few minutes later one of 
them comes back with the director of security. I tell 
him too that I want to talk to the director of the 
Museum. He wants to take me to an office but I 
resist and stay in front of the bloody wall. 

After another few minutes of waiting the security 
director comes back with another man. He is the 
director of the Museum. He is very polite and talks 
very smoothly. I give him my letter of donation and 




100 • RAPID EYE 1 




NEOISM • 101 


tell him that I want to donate my blood painting, 
entitled CADEAU (Gift), to the collection of the 
Museum, in connection to the Museum's 20th 
anniversary. "You could call and arrange an official 
performance," he points it out. 

Besides him and the security director 4/5 security 
guards are surrounding us and other museum 
officials are watching from a comfortable distance. 
Boris, Anne-Marie and Jack 5 are also here, 
representing the greater neoist network and taking 
pictures with a hidden camera and recording the 
sound. "I think this is official enough," I say. 
Meanwhile the blood has dried on the wall and 
became darker. "Eventually it will turn into gold," I 
warn the director. "Just leave it there and watch it." 
But I doubt that he will. 

July 22, 1987, Frankfurt Airport, Germany 
We are total ttfed. We had to leave Munchen at 4 in 
the morning and drive to Frankfurt. We haven't slept 
much in the past days. Neam looks balder than he is. 
I'm hallucinating. Last night I met Candy at Bizarr Hq 
and she moved into my mind. 

I'm carrying two blood paintings. They are 
wrapped in paper. 

As they go through security check the machine 
shows their pictures on the screen. Alert. In front of 
everybody they take off the wrapping. The 
detectives as well the long line of travellers are 
horrified. There are syringes attached to the bloody 
canvases. 

We are under arrest. They search us, they go 
through everything. They open a bottle of Unicum 
and smell a small container of rubber cement. They 
look at Candy's vampire photo and try to read my 
notes. 

"I am Monty Cantsin?, and these paintings were 
made with my own blood," I repeat. 

We are surrounded by at least ten armed soldiers. 

One of them is holding my blood paintings. People 
can read the titles, they are written with big gold 
letters: "All or Nothing" and "Fuck Neoism Now!" 

June 7, 1989, French/Swiss border, on the way to 
Geneva 

Krista and me are sitting in a black Fiat Panda. The 
Swiss inspector tells me to pull it over and open the 
trunk. We also have to go into their building and 
empty our pockets. I'm wearing a black suit jacket, 
the same one I was wearing the day of my 
performance in Paris, just a couple of days ago. 

As I put my hand in the jacket's pocket to empty 
it I can feel a hypodermic needle. It's not the kind of 
object you really want to show to the border 
inspectors. But I have no choice. I put it on the silver 
bright metal table together with many other little 
things, stickers, badges, cough tablets, notes, keys, 
change, nuts, markers, postcards, stamps, pens, 
sunglasses, tickets, glue stick, knife, pocket dirt, etc. 
He picks up thing after thing and puts them on the 
other side of the table. The needle is the last one. 

"What is this?" he asks. 


"It's a needle," I say. 

"Why do you carry it with you?" How could I 
explain everything about the Blood Campaign in a 
few words? Should I try it? He is 100% sure that he 
just caught a heroin user/dealer and he wants to find 
the evidence. I try the impossible. "I make blood 
paintings with my own blood and this is a needle for 
blood taking." He doesn't say anything. Krista is 
taken to another room. I have to follow the 
inspector to another small building across the road. 

"Take off your clothes." 

I am naked. 

"Bend down." 

I do and he is looking into my asshole. 

He breaks the silence a minute later. "You can go 
now. But I don't believe in your blood painting 
story." 

February 14, 1990, USA/Canada border, on the way 
from NYC to Montreal 

This is a special surprise inspection. An American 
border police patrol car stops us before reaching 
Canada, an officer gets on the bus and tells the 
driver to follow the flashing patrol car. 

Instead of going to the Canadian side we are 
turning back to the US Border Inspection Station, in 
Champlain. I have been here so many times. We have 
to get off the Greyhound bus and present ourselves 
to the inspectors. 

After a few general questions, as usually happens 
to me, I have to empty my pockets and take off my 
coat and jacket. 

The search begins. 

The first thing they find in my wallet is a dollar bill 
with a few added marks on it: an arrow going 
through the bleeding head of Washington, a 
miniature portrait of a bearded man signed MRG, 
1989 and a written 
statement "QUESTION AUTHORITY". 

"Did you do this?" 

I used to do 'money graffiti' and for example 
stamped a few dollar bills with the Neosism rubber 
stamp, but this one is not my work. "There are 
millions of artists in the United States." I wonder if 
he takes this as a threat. 

"So you think this is art?!" He holds up the bill 
with two fingers. The other inspectors gather around 
us. 

I have to bring in all my bags and put everything 
on the counter. One month of mail from my NYC Po 
Box, Neoist?! propaganda. Art Strike pamphlets. 
Everything is addressed to Monty Cantsin/Neoist 
Headquarters. I also have films, video tapes, lots of 
audio cassettes, folders of writings and printed 
documents in my bags. They have a look at my old, 
giant ghetto blaster. 

I try to stay cool and diplomatic. I can feel hot 
waves moving up to my brain. What about if once I 
lose control? Will I become a volcano? 

The shower of questions will never end. 

"Who is Monty Cantsin?", "What is Neoist 
Headquarters?", "What is Art Strike?", "What is on 




102 • RAPID EYE 1 



these films?" And, of course, the MOMA action. 

Yesterday the Criminal Court of New York City 
found me guilty on both charges of Criminal 
Mischief and Reckless Endangerment of Property and 
they sentenced me to pay $1000 fine (or 60 days). 

I have no idea how much the inspectors know 
about Neoism?! Blood Campaign and the rest, but a 
short fat guy is running from computer to computer 
and collects pages of data. He looks pretty excited. 
He shows the long unfolding pages to other officers. 

I would also love to have a copy. 






NEOISM • 103 


6 . 

BRAIN FOREST 

Amen 

I'll be executed on march 24 by a high voltage wave 
of electricity that will wipe out my nervous system, 
followed by a low-voltage shock designed to finish 
the job. 

I have a broad back, like paper I endure anything. 
I'm not a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather 
a definite trend in the historic development of alien- 
kind, which, in contrast with the intellectual 
guardianship of all clerical and governmental 
institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding 
of all the sub-individual and anti-social forces in life. 

I am only a relative, not an absolute concept, since 
I tend constantly to become broader and to affect 
wider circles in more manifold ways. For me, total 
freedom is not an abstract and foroverused 
philosophical concept, but the vital-concrete eternal- 
possibility for full development of my boring life. 

I am a fanatic lover of myself, considering me as the 
only condition under which I can exist, develop and 
grow. 

I am the only one who is worthy of the name, 
NEOISM?!, that consists in the full development of 
all the material, intellectual and alien powers that 
are latent in each non-person-person. 

I recognize no restrictions other than those 
determined by the lies of my own sub-individual 
transnature, which cannot properly be regarded as 
restrictions since these lies are not imposed by any 
outside legislator beside or above me, but are 
immanent and inherent, forming the very basis of 
my own material. 

Beware of believing me to be a rat-ma, a fish-trine 
above question or debate. No! the absolute question 
which we demand constantly develops our thinking 
and takes us toward new horizons, takes us out of 
the narrow and fucked up framework of everyday 
regulation and prison-codification. 

I am both the most colossal disorder, the most 
complete disorganization of the concert-series of 
everyday music and dance and, beyond this gigantic 
confusion, I am the construction of a new convulsive 
robot-platform philosophy based on the power of 
electricity. 

I am so deplorably elastic that I can only be a 
negative idea to the uninitiated, and I can create 
growing ambiguities which can be annoying to say 
the least. 


I can be described first and foremost as a visceral 
fuckhead. 

On the night of dec 10, 1989, the First Lady was 
raped, stabbed twice in the chest and slashed across 
the neck with such force that the gash, 10cm wide 
and 5cm deep, cut almost to her spinal cord. When 
her husband, the newly elected president of New 
World Order, returned home, he discovered her lying 
on the floor in a warm pool of blood. Her sweater 
was hiked up around her neck and her underpants 
shoved down around her left foot. 

The brutality of the murder so stunned the World 
that from that time on people began to lock their 
doors at night. The locksmith industry developed 
into a leading economic force of New World Order. 

I'm not trying to construct a story. And, if sometime 
I sound like a writer, then you should take it as a 
joke. I'm fucking serious. 

I circle around a subject, NEOISM?!, firing off 
explanatory beams, but I don't have any plot for 
your emotions and any trap for your imagination. 

My girlfriend called and she is really fed up with me. 
She thinks our relation is a tragic mistake. She is 
tired of listening to my contradictory explications. 
She knows that I didn't kill the president's wife, 
however, each time we talk she makes it clear that 
I should change and do something useful for 
everyone. Welcome to the New World Order. 

Of course, she still loves me, and wants to be with 
me, but I'm only interested about my own ideas, and 
all I want to do is either to have sex or talk about 
NEOISM?!. 

I am the uprising of a moment that springs up and 
out of time and violates the lies of science. I am the 
forbidden moment, an unforgivable denial of the 
dialectic, shimmying up the pole and out of the 
obscure and wet smokehole. I take my own 
abstractions for realities. I am almost self- 
explanatory. I should be understood without 
difficulty, understood in action. 

Antia sits right besides me and she is jerking me off 
while I'm writing this sentence. She is exquisitely 
beautiful with long flowing blonde hair and now she 
is kneeling in front of me. I can feel the tingle of her 
erect nipples brushing against my legs. She is 
massaging my thighs, moving her hands closer and 
closer to my cock. She looks up me and she smiles. 
For a minute I stop writing and I put the head of my 




104 • RAPID EYE 1 


erect penis right into her open mouth. 

Our relation is a trap, a cultural sinkhole, a neurotic 
secret implosion of split atoms. I am the obvious 
counter-strategy that emerges spontaneously. I am 
full of shit, full of illogical things and events that she 
may never understand. "If my life doesn't make any 
kind of sense at all then don't impose a meaning on 
me. It's better to remain in doubt than to try to 
make something mean what it may not really mean 
at all." 

I'm freed of time and place, but spatiotemporally 
chained to the noise of the events. 

At 6 o'clock I worship Eris, aka Discordia, goddess of 
chaos and confusion. 

Antia is sitting on top of me and I can feel the 
wetness and the softness of her pussy clinging to my 
cock. 

The police didn't find any evidence of forced entry 
into the Presidential house, so they assumed the First 
Lady must have opened the door to her killer, or the 
killer had the key. The President said his shy, 
reclusive wife, who had been jittery since receiving 
a series of obscene phone calls the year before, 
would have never opened the door to anyone 
without an official appointment. 

I'm an anthropomorphized human translation of a 
persistent signal sent by the molecular intelligence of 
the 14 Secret Masters of the Universe. My 
consciousness is chemical in nature and changes as its 
chemistry changes. 

I try to define myself without creating one 
definition, to keep consciousness open to changes 
and to satisfy my brain with confusion, chaos, terror, 
paranoia, sex, weirdness, danger, violence, hedonic 
gratification, self-destructive misery, simulated 
happiness, mad stimulation, total freedom, etc. 

The fact is that I am NEOISM?! and NEOISM?! is 
more than me, so as a consequence of this fact I'll 
never become completely what I am already. 

To elaborate on this more than confusing statement 
I would have to analyse the contradictory character 
of my non-philosophical speculation. But this is 
impossible, or, perhaps somebody else should do it. 

I can't. What I'm interested in is to accumulate 
seemingly useless information in a form that is 
satisfactory to initiate chemical impulses in my brain 
or in the reader's brain. Well, I'm not even sure 
about that. But why should I be preoccupied with 
the goal of my writing, my ideas? 

I have more important questions: 

How can you experience death without dying? 

How to become immortal and still alive? 

Can the answer be a simply chemical procedure? 

As a philosophy I will be alive even in a few 


thousand years, but as a philosopher I might be dead 
tomorrow. Because I am NEOISM?! but NEOISM?! is 
more than me. And even if I'm already dead, I'll 
never become completely dead. 

It is time for me to leave planetary existence and 
increase my research and communication through 
the star system. To find Akademgorod on another 
planet seems to me more possible than get people 
involved with the idea in my neighbourhood. 

I'm constantly recreating myself every second. My 
mind is a mutating biomachine. Every second is a 
new definition and the next one is always the best. 
There is no best and no linear progression. I'm 
defined by contradictions, impossible ideas, utopian 
theories, mindfucking bullshit, speculations, lies, 
stupid jokes, stolen information, puns, metathesis, 
obscure symbolism, and every manner of indirection. 

I make a quantum jump every so often and land 
myself in a new reality-matrix. This is the only way to 
stay NEOISM?!. 

NEOISM?!: What time is it? 

Human: Three-twenty. 

NEOISM?!: Are you blind? It is six o’clock. 

Let's jump back to that murder story. Soon it will 
become really meaningful, and it will give a special 
taste to our theoretical speculation. I was reading an 
article about Roger Keith Coleman in Time magazine 
and that's how his story inspired my writing. 
Coleman was recently executed for a murder he 
never committed. The machine that was made to kill 
has to kill. 

The goal of NEOISM?! is to conquer death and 
establish cosmic-urban-eternity. 

Who are you and what is your destiny? 

This question should be included in birth ceremony 
songs. 

Birth is the manifesto-action of NEOISM?!. Those 
who can't stand babycry won't understand the 
angel's message either. Babycry is the greatest music 
on earth and behind its irritating noise there is the 
sonic-quality of the immortal alienculture. NEOISM?! 
is a non-structural-athematical-illogical principle that 
we don't understand. That is, each person creates 
her own universe out of his own neuro-illogical anti¬ 
processes. NEOISM?! is nothing else but the search 
for the unknown structural integrities that underline 
the philosophical appearances. 

I am NEOISM?! but that doesn't give me any 
intellectual security, and in order to keep it going I 
have to conquer NEOISM?! every day. This is what 
I call the everyday dance and music of NEOISM?!, a 
defense mechanism against global insanity and 
death. 

The message of NEOISM?! is that the message must 
always change. Intelligence must increase as 




NEOiSM • 105 


consciousness expands, or we get burned-out. The 
important areas of experimentation are therefore 
those which produce errors in compensation and 
provoke an emergency in response. I use intensity/ 
confusion as weapons to actually force a choice. I 
have an extreme degree of intensity to break 
existing aesthetic categories and reject all forms and 
products. The aim is to be as un-aesthetic as possible. 
But what appears today to be either a noise-wall or 
a non-interpretable foreign signal, will tomorrow be 
considered simplistically familiar. 

I do exercises every day (a sort of mutated yoga 
mixed with gymnastic elements), to keep my body in 
shape, to discipline my mental attitude and to 
stimulate my nervous system. Exercising is my drug. 
I'm addicted to it and have to repeat the same ritual 
at least once a day. Without such self-work I would 
crumble into a bundle of paranoia, inactive 
bitterness, suicidal depression. Exercising keeps me 
sane, but, and this is very important to note, it also 
helps me to stay in close contact with the convulsive 
world of insanity, lunacy, alienation and madness. 
Exercising increases the receptive capacity of my 
mind, my awareness and openness. It makes my 
physical and spiritual being completely alert. During 
exercising I trans-communicate with the whole 
universe and I'm not reduced to my limited living 
space. 

A diffuse rationalism, the levelling impress of the 
mass media, the increasing monochrome of the 
technological milieu, are crowding on the private 
components of marvel and fantasy. Under the stress 
of the media, even our dreams are standardized and 
made synchronic with those of our neighbours. 

With someone that you know really well you can 
transmit information brain to brain, get the concepts 
across so fast that you get to the point where it's 
hard to tell who's who. It would be possible to link 
together a large number of brains through multi- 
sensory communication and create a brain-net or 
brainforest. In fact that's what all the communication 
networks are about. But this communication should 
be done without indirect brain extending devices, 
tools such as the computer o:' pen and paper, using 
direct transmission only. Let's connect our pleasure 
centres now! The blaze that had swept through 
NEOISM?! had left it burnt beyond recognition. 
NEOISM?! had no known family or next of a kin to 
identify the remains. NEOISM?! thus became an 
unidentified homicide. Friends eulogized NEOISM?!, 
recalling how NEOISM?! had built the mythology of 
Akademgorod. Without sawing boards, without 
piercing nails, without pounding a hammer, it was 
built from recycled ideas and stolen information, 
using telepathic transmission/radiation/ 
communication methods. Akademgorod, this new 
Atlantis, is the only community that was able to 
welcome NEOISM?! and coexist with an unknown 
idea. 


In my belief system NEOISM?! is not one hypothesis 
among many but an omnipresent reality. NEOISM?! 
is everywhere, in every tree, every flower, in the sky 
itself, in the light. 

I look at you and you are NEOISM?!. 

NEOISM?! is an invisible, gaseous-like, jello-like 
something which is living, radiating and receiving 
energy, expanding, contracting, glowing. 

Since average Americans are bombarded by 300 ad 
jingles and soundbites per day, they develop what 
we call "the communication phallus". 

It takes a powerful word or phrase to stimulate the 
phallus. Try NEOISM?!. NEOISM?! is a sprinkling of 
ideas with confused aspirations shot through with 
gleams of intelligence. As I sit here, writing, my 
brain, which has my name on it, is transmitting on a 
frequency which has a number. And you can tune 
your system to this number, and you can reach me 
without reading this, without writing to me, without 
using a phone. Your brain has your name, and it's up 
to you to fulfil your name. And however you may 
feel, doubt or question whether you are negative or 
positive, you must believe in yourself. I have this, this 
is mine, it was given to me. However many flaws, 
however many errors, however many wrong 
decisions, however many negatives, I have this, I am 
positive about it. I will radiate it and if there is 
someone who receives, fine, they are radiating, let us 
hope that their radiation corresponds with mine 
momentarily, and in that moment we can reach 
NEOISM?!. 

I jerk off while the books I'm reading are all around 
me. My sperm is flowing in thick rivers, an endless 
white stream over the books. And the books melt 
away. They disappear in the white splash. 

To be involved with NEOISM?! is to search for and to 
play with uncertainty and ambiguity rather than to 
strive for semantic outcomes of the definite kind. To 
understand what is going on in the transactional 
process of NEOISM?! is to merge into the waves of 
planetary inputs, the modulation of ideas passed 
around the multiplicity of terminals, and to identify 
with the patterns of change which surge through the 
lines of total communication. It can feel, not just as 
an extension of mind but an extension of the body. 
There can be this sense of out-of-body experience, 
joining up with others in the aetheric, electronic, 
and totally timeless space. There are high tides and 
low tides of these wave convulsive motions, these 
subversive ripples of meaning, greater or lesser 
manifesting densities of NEOISM?!. 

Then, as the flames mounted and the metal and 
wood of the sets got hotter and hotter, the bulbs 
began to explode with loud smacking sounds. Then 
he took the library broom and pushed the handle 
into my vagina. He shoved it in and out and stirred 
it around until I was as juicy as a musquash. People 




106 • RAPID EYE 1 



Istvan Kantor, ‘X-WARHOL’ (1993) 


were rolling and frolicking in the mud, frenzied. 
Fuming billows of red smoke grenade clouds blanked 
out groups of people. The red smoke grenades were 
quite acrid and the audience could only see parts of 
what was going on in the mud field. I didn't want to 
look at his penis, but he took a hold of the back of 
my neck and forced my head down so I had to. It 
was up, erect. It was shivering and quivering, and it 
had a very complicated hole in the top of it, which 
seemed to be breathing and talking, saying things 
like "there are pressures of life that keep us from 
enjoying NEOISM?!. NEOISM?! is our individual 
displacement from order", etc. As his penis 
continued chanting, I felt surges and tingles of 
pleasure. The sound and the noise of the language 
aroused me, because it wasn't the kind of language 
I would normally use myself. I didn't really 
understand it. I overheard a man talking about 
concentration camps in the world. At the end of the 
field of red mud there was a pyramid of television 
sets. I wanted to have an orgasm. So I started 
pushing back, pushing myself close up to him, 
rubbing my body against him. "Look in the eye of an 
elephant and you'll know more about NEOISM?!" I 
heard that strange voice, and I felt really high, like 
I was out of my mind. There was no order and all 
seemed like chaos. At that moment I found my 


rhythm. No steadiness, no anchor, no fulcrum. I 
prefer the flux and build-up of changes, all 
interpenetrating, with surprises arriving non-stop. 
NEOISM?! is quite enjoyable. 

Does NEOISM?! contain within itself the idea of 
NEOISM?! ? In other words, where does NEOISM?! 
get the idea that it is NEOISM?! ? NEOISM?! exists by 
its very absence. 

Negation is the mind becoming the infinite world of 
developing NEOISM?!. 

But why should negation be the essential element 
of NEOISM?! ? 

If NEOISM?! was a museum one could always add to 
it a new idea which did not belong to it. Therefore 
the hypothesis of NEOISM?! is false. Can NEOISM?! 
contain the idea of not being NEOISM?! without 
destroying itself? Does it disappear into an infinite 
number of empty ideas, or does it dissolve into an 
infinite number of infinitely confusing elements? If 
it does disappear, it means that an infinite number 
of empty ideas can give birth to NEOISM?!. If it 
dissolves, it means that an infinite number of 
infinitely confusing elements recreates it to the point 
of an infinity of confusing ideas. The infinitely 
confusing conceives the infinitely simple. NEOISM?! 
is divided to infinity. NEOISM?! circumscribes the 
infinitely confusing and infinitely simple. On 
reaching infinity, NEOISM?! becomes the seat of 
ideas. 

NEOISM?! is not a book, nor case of words, nor a 
bag of words, nor a bearer of words. Everyday 
language is intentional, that is, utilitarian. Its 
function is to transmit ideas and feelings, to explain, 
to declare, to convince, to invoke, to accuse, to 
subvert, to confuse, etc. NEOISM?! is using everyday 
language, but it neglects intentions and utility, and 
it returns to itself, it investigates itself, looking 
always for new ideas. You do not need to read the 
whole book. The reading may stop at the very 
moment you have understood the total 
structure/nonstructure of NEOISM?!. 

NEOISM?! is the advocate of the irrational, the 
insane, the unplanned, the confusing and non¬ 
functional. NEOISM?! should be understood as a 
means of communication whose latent potentiality 
is higher in indirect proportion to its scope for 
providing stimuli and eliciting reactions, so 
contributing to a recovery of our senses rather than 
anaesthetizing their pulsations. This holds good even 
for the person who has produced confusion and 
finds himself led to clarify a posteriori some of the 
motives that were originally overlaid by the 
irresistible urge to create. NEOISM?! is used as an 
active form of support, making it possible to remain 
anchored to some sort of hope and overcoming the 
temptation to cut short all communication, seeking 
refuge in silence. A silence that for many has taken 




NEOISM • 107 


the form of continuing to speak but in such a way 
that the public fails to follow, to understand, while 
for others it has meant effacing themselves by flight 
into suicide. 

There is a temptation to abandon NEOISM?! and 
escape into silence that transcends everything and 
harbours the great promise of a final loosing of 
every servile bond with the world. 

I was floating through the sky on a warm sunny 
evening. I gradually came to rest on a grassy cliff 
top. I could spend hours there reading or 
daydreaming, enjoying solitude until night fell. It 
was all beautiful and idyllic. The birds were singing 
and there was a smell of wild flowers. By dint of 
pondering different thoughts my intelligence grew 
sharper and my ideas gained precision. I could stay 
there forever with my eyes fixed upon a nebulous 
Canaan, an imaginary land of promise. Already I had 
began dreaming of a desert hermitage equipped 
with high-tech conveniences, an ark on dry land in 
which I might take refuge from the incessant deluge 
of human stupidity. 

A strange feeling came walking across the grass 
towards me. I wasn't surprised at all, it happens to 
me quite often. This time she had the look of a 
typical sex-object: long bleached-blonde hair, big 
statuesque breasts (I could see the nipples through 
the clinging wet cotton), very short and tight leather 
skirt, red high-heel shoes. I recognized that 
unbalanced, neurotic woman who loved to have her 
nipples macerated in scent, but who only really 
experienced complete and utter ecstasy when her 
scalp was scraped with a metal comb or when a 
lover's caresses were mingled with the smell of soot, 
or wet plaster from houses being built in rainy 
weather, or of dust thrown up by heavy rain-drops 
in a summer thunderstorm. I asked her whether she 
would like to have sex immediately or should we 
exchange theoretical problems for a few minutes 
before getting into practical activity. 

"Any notion of rationality which doesn’t take 
account of specific extraterrestrial abilities and 
limitations of understanding, memory and re¬ 
conceptualization has nothing to do with me," she 
said. Suddenly I felt I was rotten through and 
through and hung like a decaying carcass, losing my 
limbs, oozing pus, and I could barely keep, in the 
general corruption of my body, a few words in my 
mouth. Under the lowering sky, in the humid 
atmosphere, the world oozed black sweat and the 
wind ventilated foul odours; the horror of life 
became more apparent and the grip of spleen more 
oppressive; the seeds of iniquity that lie in 
everybody's heart began to regerminate; a craving 
for filthy pleasures took hold of the puritanical, and 
the minds of respected citizens were visited by the 
criminal desires of NEOISM?!. 



I am a single-minded, one-dimensional fanatic 
dedicated to figuring out actions that would irritate 
people and make their life unbearable. I am one of 
the struggling millions. NEOISM?! is the place where 
everything happens, where everything involves me. 
There are huge abysses between my intentions and 
achievements. I am rapaciously conditioned all the 
time, I often find myself trapped in ideological 
stances which I know to be bizarre, but I can't 
struggle out from under. I just don't enjoy the 
pleasures other people enjoy! As a young boy I saw 
my family as a prison. My parents told me how to 
think and what to be. I looked at my father and 
mother and vowed not to repeat their dull lives. 

My parents instilled in me a deep expectation of 
living for the future. They never told me the secret 
of NEOISM?!: tomorrow never comes, it's always 6 
o'clock. When tomorrow comes, it is today, it's 6 
o'clock. 

I live in the belly of the beast. Right now I'm laying 
in bed, touching my body all over, wetting and 
kissing myself. I'm rubbing and feeling my body. I'm 
masturbating while I’m writing. There are bright 
lights and mirrors all around so I can fully admire 
myself. 1 work my hair up into heaps of curls, all tied 




108 • RAPID EYE 1 


with tiny, pale-blue ribbons. My job is to show up at 
public places and tell people to burn down their 
own houses in the name of NEOISM?! if they want 
to be happy. Conflicts bring out the best in me 
because I am used to a confrontation. I feel great in 
critical situations when I have to make very fast 
decisions and get myself out of trouble. 

I admire my breasts in the mirror. I hold each one in 
my hands and feel its firmness and tickle the nipples 
so they get hard and they grow. My cock is in my 
right hand now and I'm typing letter by letter with 
my left hand. I open my legs and spray myself with 
vaginal deodorant. I even make sure that the lips of 
my pussy are neatly together. I would love to suck 
my cock and lick my pussy at the same time but I 
can't even fuck myself because my cock is so hard 
that f can't bend it and push it into my vagina. 
When it's soft I usually keep it in my hot pussy. 

The complete elimination of oppression is a difficult 
task in a world which bears the marks of many 
thousand years of government propaganda. I wish to 
explore inner space, that psychological domain 
where the inner world of the mind and the outer 
world of reality meet and fuse. I want to write a 
series of fucked-up philosophical essays about the 
present confusion of thinking, individual isolation, 
alienation, introspection and techno-sophistication. 

The marriage of reason and nightmare which has 
dominated the 20th century has given birth to an 
ever more ambiguous game: NEOISM?!. We live in a 
world ruled by fictions of every kind - political 
propaganda, pop-culture mythology, mass-media 
imagery, etc. We live inside an enormous novel. It is 
less and less necessary to invent a fiction since it has 
been already written. The most effective way of 
dealing with the world around is to assume that it is 
a complete fiction. The writer's task is to select and 
re-package information. NEOISM?! is an extreme 
metaphor for an extreme situation, a kit of 
desperate measures only for use in an extreme crisis. 
NEOISM?! takes up its position as a dataclysmic anti- 
philosophy of today. 

I heard someone whistling at me, I went through 
some bushes into a graveyard. There was a cold, blue 
moonlight. A man in red was standing at the 
opposite end of the graveyard. I got closer and saw 
he was playing with his cock. In the same moment I 
was stunned and deafened by a thunderous blow, as 
from some titanic hammer, outside the tank low 
down to the right, and was thrown hard against the 
side of the cupola as the tank slewed round and 
shuddered to a violent halt. At the same time a 
gigantic clang, which seemed to rend my skull, told 
of a solid shot skidding off the sloping front plate 
without penetrating. The tank's main armament, its 
gun, was useless now. In a daze, trembling like a 
leaf, I found myself on the ground wrapping my 
arms around the red man's legs. His legs smelled of 


cinnamon. He had a long, hard cock, with a big vein 
running up it. His tight wrinkled balls smelled even 
more strongly of cinnamon. Flames were soaring into 
the sky with rich black clouds of smoke from burning 
tanks with their ammunition exploding in them. I 
sucked at the red man's cock, harder and harder. 

I have been awake for more than forty-eight hours. 
My last sleep had been in my quarter near the 
barracks three nights before. I silently prayed that 
my wife and baby daughter had got back home 
safely and I sucked the red man's cock harder still. I 
could sense the cool, white semen down there in his 
balls, and I was trying to suck it right up to my 
mouth, the same way you drink a milkshake. I tore 
my eye from the sight and saw nearby another tank 
explode. 

I gave one more suck, and it flooded out onto my 
tongue. It absolutely filled up my mouth. The next 
minutes lasted for ever - reload - aim in the 
thickening dust and smoke - fire - down on the 
belly and crawl with gasping lungs to another 
position - then reload again - fire. I dropped 
behind the stones in the ruins of the graveyard. The 
world blew up and went boblack. 

NEOISM?! may remain invisible for as long as they 
want us to, for we know we exist and one day the 
achievements of our generation will obliterate all 
memory of their cheap and dreary reign. 

They are dying and we are just being born. 
NEOISM?! removes itself from history and from the 
market. It replaces representation with presence: the 
full exploitation of surprise. NEOISM?! is jerking off 
on a stage, as a nightclub act, with everybody 
clapping when you shoot your load. 

NEOISM?! exists beyond control and definition. 
NEOISM?! is a little black rat-hole that connects the 
Universe to the Babylon of Information. 

NEOISM?! cannot exist without planning ever new 
and dreadful outbursts of rebellion. 

I dream of reaching the absolute point zero from 
which I can make a real start again and launch a 
new message. In me circulates the blood of a better 
age. 

Suddenly, I found myself alone on the stage. The 
hall, dimly lit by the small red bulbs located above 
the doors, resembled an immense cavern lying deep 
beneath the surface of the sea. A sort of drunken 
euphoria took hold of me. I began to rub myself very 
fast. There were wasps swarming somewhere, and 
their noise came and went. I curled my fingers round 
between my legs and played with my clitoris. It went 
stiff, stiffer than it's ever been before, and I could 
see it actually poking out through my pubic hair. I 
kept on diddling absent-mindedly. NEOISM?! should 
be pleasure because if not no-one would do it, 
except those over-bored black leather S/M prisoners. 

The brain plays a dangerous game! 




NEOISM • 109 


NEOISM?! keeps you fit. 

It was one of Chairman Mao's grand plans to keep 
the nation fit. 

NEOISM?! keeps you horny. 

It was one of Hitler's secret plans to keep Germans 
horny. 

NEOISM?! keeps you alive. 

Jim Jones' original plan was to lead his people to 
Canaan. 

NEOISM?! makes you revolt. 

It was Fidel Castro's plan to create a permanent 
revolution. 

NEOISM?! makes you hungry. 

It was Stalin's idea to feed people with work. 

And they all failed. 

But NEOISM?! survived. 

And I'm here to give you another chance. 

This no-logic concerning the function of confusion in 
activating popular overnationalist culture finds its 
extreme rationale in noise. The constituent strategies 
of noise are consistent with the above discussed 
short statements. NEOISM?! apotheosizes in epochal 
and pristine manner an overnationalist perspective. 
It employs the psychological dynamic of the 
instantaneousness of confunification to present a 
mutatively pure transparent version of the 
immediate world. From the initial sweep of the lofty 
clouds to the hypnotic and mesmerizing definitions 
of nothing, NEOISM?! uses convulsive movements 
mess'ntialized in this chapter. 

Like the self-absorbed and emotionally 
overwhelmed penitent at a mass religious gathering, 
the reader is allowed neither distance nor moments 
of relief from the totalitarian barrage of NEOISM?!. 

The reader is to be made undifferentiated in 
emotion and self-control from the convulsing, 
cinepatic image-overflow. The reader is as one in this 
mass congregation for the propaganda of the 
overnational faith of NEOISM?!. 

You are, yes, in effect at the same time the sex- 
object and future-enemy for the pronulgation of a 
specific nurstrine or practrice. You are involved, 
without your knowledge, in an inexorable process of 
propaganda-making. 

That NEOISM?! is not a fiction espousing a super¬ 
humanist cocktrine and therefore immediately 
recognizable historically and culturally as 
propaganda is clear. That NEOISM?! can be perceived 
as partaking of an ill-logic outherent in fictions not 
framed in ostensible super-humanism is not quite as 
clear. NEOISM?! uses the effect of pristineness and 
classlessness in the fabric of non-aesthetic 
deconstruction in order to nonsolidate ideologically 
and semiotically its concentration of power. 

NEOISM?! espouses a look-fascism of consciousness in 


asserting falsely that powerlessness is not the result 
of the concentration of power in the hierarchical few 
but psychological inability to assimilate and project 
the status quo premise necessary for the 
maintenance of power structure. 

So I just want to think about it in terms of horror 
and fear. I don't have any desire to be burned or 
gassed or anything else, but if that's what happens, 
it's going to happen and there is not a damn thing 
in the world I can do about it at this point. I do 
think if we can get to the point where we are 
thinking - if we can get all our forces together 
simply - if we can do that - why not think about 
duty and blood and all the other things we believe 
are worth the effort. It's all so hard to reach 
everybody with a thought because there are so many 
pros and cons. The best thing we can do is live our 
ideas as fully as possible. 

At certain moments it's important to accelerate the 
process of filling pages with words._At certain 
moments it's important to accelerate the process of 
filling pages with words._At certain moments it's 
important to accelerate the process of filling pages 
with words._At certain moments it's important to 
accelerate the process of filling pages with words._At 
certain moments it's important to accelerate the 
process of filling pages with words._At certain 
moments it's important to accelerate the process of 
filling pages with words._At certain moments it's 
important to accelerate the process of filling pages 
with words._At certain moments it's important to 
accelerate the process of filling pages with words._At 
certain moments it's important to accelerate the 
process of filling pages with words._At certain 
moments it's important to accelerate the process of 
filling pages with words. 

The ghost of NEOISM?! was a poor little black girl 
from an unfairy tale who never found her way to 
Akademgorod. Her unnatural superhuman power 
was defeated by high-tech tracism and left in the 
dust. There was nothing she could do, so she faded 
away. But this would be too much like an end 
phrase and I still have to finish a couple of pages. 

I have to write about NEOISM?!. I can't afford not 
to. If I fall and can't finish this book I won't be able 
to pay my debts. I'm talking about my debts to the 
world. 

“I have taken your garbage, your shit all my life, but 
now I'm selling it back to you at a terrorizing price!" 

Everyone knows that a moment in time cannot 
possibly be duplicated, not again, not that is in its 
entirety, or full intensity and freshness, or in all its 
myriad dimension, not, that is, so it is the same 
moment. I can't become a salesman. Work is 
considered fit only for robots. 

NEOISM?! is for seduction. 



110 • RAPID EYE 1 


NEOISM?! is for intelligence. 

NEOISM?! is for nothing. 

NEOISM?! is for questions. 

NEOISM?! is for passion. 

NEOISM?! is for fucking. 

NEOISM?! is for propaganda. 

NEOISM?! is for imitation. 

As a doubtful symptom the following must be 
stated: taken all in all, NEOISM?! is a sign of a world 
getting worse. It's a hallucinacrum of insane people 
or criminals. Only the miserable cowardice of our 
intelligentsia is resisting the poisoning sound of 
NEOISM?!. Let us be happy with this impudent 
nonsense. I believe everything I think and everything 
I write. 

Therefore I should be locked up in a prison-hospital 
for the criminally insane where I can drill holes in my 
skull to increase the oxygen supply to my brain. 

NEOISM?! is hermaphroditic. It is the sensibility of 
those whose phobia of role-entrapment compels 
them to ridicule the values of their society but 
prevents them from creating any of their own. The 
superficial perversity of NEOISM?! is at heart an 
unresolved conflict between reverence and ridicule. 
Condemned to shallowness, NEOISM?! is compelled 
to recast its most trivial experiences as existential 
monodramas. 

I’m waiting for a phonecall which if it ever comes, 
comes because it is a wrong number. The role of 
NEOISM?! is probably that of preserving within 
contemporary society the ambiguity of the rational 
and irrational, the comprehensible and the 
unfathomable. This ambiguity is historically 
necessary. We need signs uncertain in content. This 
is the twilight condition of convulsiveness. For this 
reason our relationship with mass culture is 
interminable. NEOISM?! is a generalised curiosity 
motivated by a widespread anxiety. One must try 
everything! 

NEOISM?! can give you a chance to show off your 
stuff. It provides everyone with an opportunity for 
self-disco-very, for exploration of your superficial 
inner strengths. 

We want NEOISM?! now. We are tired of waiting. 
We are tired of listening to bleeding-heart hawks 
talk and talk and talk about NEOISM?!, but never 
delivering. We want action, not just talk, not just 
empty promises. 

She had a big rounded ass. She pointed to her 
asshole with a sharp red-painted nail. 

We will soon be rendered visible for all eternity by 
the greatness of our gestures. Welcome to the 
coming surprise! 


NOTES 

I am a channel. I didn't write these above statements. They 
flowed through me sent by the following people: 

Noam Chomsky, Daniel Gudrin, Bakunin, Hakim Bey, Graham 
Masterton, Robert Anton Wilson, SPK, [Douglas Davis, Bern 
Porter, Roy Ascott, Al Hansen, Robert Filliou, Edwige 
Regenwetter, Ulises Carrion, Romana Loda, Joris-Karl 
Huysmans, Jerry Rubin, Bob Dylan, J.G. Ballard, Marino Tuzi, 
Herbert Huncke, Ronald Anthony Cross, Ursula Pflug, Emil 
Hoffman, Joe Allah, Melody Summer, P.J. Holdstock, Karl 
Jirgens. 

Monty Cantsin, Selected Discography: 

Neoist Songs (12" EP, Yul Records, Montreal, 1982) 

Mass Media (12" EP, Yul Records 1984) 

Born Again In Flames (12" mini-LP, Maldoror Records, New 
York/Montreal, 1987) 

Ahora Neoismus (LP, Maldoror Records, 1988) 

Monty Cantsin (Cassette anthology 1979-89, Old Europa Cafd, 
Italy, 1990) 

Compilations: 

Glamour Girl 1941 (LP, LAFMS Records, USA, 1979) 
Anthems (LP, Trux, Italy, 1983) 

Panic Panic (LP Planetarium Records, Montreal, 1985) 

Inter K-7 (Cassette Inter Records, Quebec, 1987) 

Further Reading: 

The 9th Neoist Festival (Catalogue, Arte Studio, Italy 1985) 
Plagiarism: Art As Commodity And Strategies For Its Negation 
(ed. by Stewart Home, Aporia Press, 1987) 

The Assault On Culture (Stewart Home, AK Press, 1991) 
Neoism Now (ed. by Monty Cantsin, Artcore Editions, Berlin 
1987) 

The Neoist Network's First European Training Camp (Pete 
Horobin and Peter Below, Kryptic Press, Germany, 1982) 






TIME MIRRORS 

The Art Of Austin Spare (1888-1956) 


Genesis P-Orridge 


"Since all phenomena (or phenomenally appearing things) which arise present no 
reality in themselves, they are said to be of the noumena. (In other words they are 
of the Voidness regarded as the noumenaI background of source of the physical 
universe of phenomena.) Though not formed into anything, yet they give shape to 
everything. Thus it is that phenomena and noumena are ever in union, and said to 
be of one nature. They are, like ice and water, reflection and mirror, two aspects 
of a single thing." 

—The Seven Books Of Wisdom (Tibetan Text) 


In the case of a mirror there is a third aspect, the 
subject/viewer. Mirrors reveal and conceal. Their 
mystery permanent, their hints at doorways, 
windows and thresholds out of reach of most minds. 
Time. Image. Idea. There can be no separation, 
scientifically or subjectively. The atavistic face gazes 
down into a crystal pool. Ice cold water. Grunts. A 
hand shatters the image, fear gaunt and haunting 
passes across, a shadowy cloud, and through all Time 
that moment can persist, be reclaimed. 

"What is Time, but a variety of one thing?" 

—A.O.S. 

These moments of Time accumulate, are listed under 
memory in our modern synapses, are posited as 
always retrievable, amorphous. Nothing is forgotten, 
all is permitted. In a stinking cave muttering babies 
scream and scratch, furs undulate in copulation. In 


one corner, bright-eyed first marks are daubed on a 
wall. They are marks to function, marks of place, of 
Time. They are marks to draw results and persist 
beyond one human lifetime. Instinct has arisen, 
snake-like, coiling itself into intuition and suggested 
the very power of suggestion. No-one noted down 
from a book this process, it grew from watching the 
elements, closeness to life-forces, death-forces that 
modern persons are divorced from. On this damp 
stone there is a curve, it is land, horizon, ejaculation, 
movement. 

"Magic consists in seeing and willing beyond the 
next horizon" 

—The Sar. 

Mrs Patterson stares down. Pencilled into existence. 
It is her as she was when she took Austin Osman 
Spare at 14 years old and initiated him into the art 



112 • RAPID EYE 1 



of sexual magic and a powerful system of sorcery 
that she had rediscovered through communion across 
time with systems and techniques that grew from 
the most animalistic and pure union of instinct. She 
knew, and she taught Spare, how to travel through 
Time, and how to remain present in Life after bodily 
death. She was a medium, but her guides were not 
just ikons of the intuitive tribes, American indians, 
tantric Tibetans, aborigines. She understood the most 
particular secret. Her medium was herself. She was 
able to travel through mirrors back in Time, and 
forward in Time. There is a drawing by Spare, pencil 
and gouache, finished in 1928. The main figure is 
Mrs Patterson. Coming from behind her making a 
blister in the shimmering green aura, a half-complete 
face. It belongs to no one, everyone. It is her, 
literally, it is a cavalier, symbolically, it is Austin 
Osman Spare literally. This one picture contains all 
the secrets Spare never wrote down. He appears in 
the bottom right-hand corner, an old man, eyes 
closed, concentrating, materialising. What Spare does 
is trick us. All his writings are symbolic, they were 
never intended to be taken literally on any level, 
despite modern infatuations to the contrary. His 
writings are purely decorative. They are 
entertainment. His relaxation after his real work. His 
special trick was to convince everybody that his 
drawings, paintings, images were symbolic. They are 
in fact his only real work. Like all great sorcerers, he 
hid the real secret in apparently commonplace 
media. In the key picture he is actually kneeling. It is 
a photographic image of his prediction of both his 
bodily death and his worship of Mrs Patterson as his 
true Goddess. His use of prostitutes and scarlet 
woman of middle age in his sexual magic was to 
return to his potency with his only access point 
through Time into Timelessness. They were closer to 
Mrs Patterson, so he used them as a focusing visual 
image to recharge his contact with her. When she 
died, he took her energy and literally trapped it, 


living, into this, and one or two other pictures. He 
sinks into her chest, is absorbed, they rise together, 
androgynous, both their faces, ail their ages 
superimposed. He has drawn himself dying, 
conjuring himself into the image in advance, so he 
remains always able to return. 

“Art is the truth we have realised of our belief. " 

—A.O.S. 

“Art can contradict science. ” 

—A.O.S. 

“Do you see those flowers growing on the sides of 
the abyss whose beauty is so deadly and whose scent 
is so disturbing? Beware..." 

—de Gautia. 

In his images of sorcery, his purest incantations 
through Art, Spare uses a graphic skill and technique 
second to none. Yet his most commonly seen works 
are excellent, but obvious in their skill. Sometimes 
deliberately fast and loose. The nearest modern 
parallel would be Salvador Dali who could suggest 
perfection in a few marks, or worship HIS Goddess, 
Gala, with photographically pure technique that is 
unearthly accurate. It seems to me that Spare is 
equal in genius to Rembrandt in the past, Dali in the 
present and Brion Gysin in the future. 

“The future is in the past but it is not wholly 
contained in the present. “ 

—Hoene-Wronski. 

Both Spare and Gysin lived to reach new dimensions, 
they understood to pursue Wisdom, not knowledge. 
This alone made collaboration with the most 
magickal groups impossible. Where the need for 
nostalgic elitism and power by knowledge and 
length of bookshelf far too often camouflages 
self-aggrandizement, where self-improvement to 
serve is the reality. Peladan was in fact a prophet of 
developments that later became possible, and only 
now become likely. Spare was aware that mystery 
and magick generate fascination and attraction in 
human persons. He used his books, his Beardsley-like 
graphics, his writings to attract interest after his 
death. He knew that this would reactivate his soul 
and animate his psyche once more. He was also 
shrewd enough to make all his secrets non-verbal. 
Not one is contained in his writings. Only the 
atavistic paintings, and the Time Mirror' drawings 
explain his vision. 

"The universe is a creative process carried on by 
man's imagination, an operative power capable of 
becoming more supple, more fully animate." 

—Teilhard de Chardin. 

What is happening in these certain key pictures is 
this: All ideas have an image. There are no 
exceptions. All materials that make a piece of art are 




AUSTIN OSMAN SPARE • 113 


material. They are formed of patterns of atoms and 
molecules, charged by various energies. Modern 
psychology also accepts that Ideas are material 
entities, like animals and plants. All mythological 
ideas, Jung states, are essentially real, and far older 
than any philosophy. They originated in primal 
perceptions, correspondences and experiences. The 
catalytic element that regenerates a reaction 
between Entitic Ideas and spectator (viewer of 
Painting) favours parapsychological events in the 
presence of an active archetype. In the case of 
Spare's Art this can be anything from an obvious 
glyph, a non-decorative aesthetic arrangement, or in 
the most intense works an invisible charge of energy 
which calls deeper, instinctual layers of the psyche 
into action. The archetype is a borderline 
phenomenon, an acausal connecting principle closest 
in the explanation to deliberately controlled, 
SELF-conscious, synchronicity. When Spare says 
Self-Love, he means 'Self-conscious, yet egoless'. 
When he uses the word Chaos, he is amusing 
himself, and leaving a key clue. Austin Osman Spare's 
Chaos is both a signature and a sign-post to future 
time. ChDVH (CH)=Joy=23. A.O.S. is simply his name, 
his authorship within his secret sorceries. 

"Art is the instinctive application of the knowledge 
latent in the subconscious.” 

—A.O.S. 

After Mrs Patterson died Spare was waiting to be 
inside her again, fused with her energy. The key 
picture is the actual moment of his death, and the 
moment of her death overlaid. His aim in all his 
magick was to reunite his spirit and hers within his 
Art so that they might quite literally live forever. 
They do live. Many unprompted witnesses have seen 
Mrs Patterson's eyes close, open, cry, her whole head 
turn, a quite literally living portrait. Magick makes 
dreams real, makes the impossible possible, focuses 
the will. Throughout its history, crystals, water, 
polished metal, mirrors have been used to oracular 
ends. Spare's massive achievement is that he 
recognised the potential of Art, of image, to be the 
most powerful mirror of all. A window in Time, an 
Interface with death. In his art he captures not just 
an image but a life-form and energy. What happens 
is that this lies dormant until it comes into contact 
and reacts with other energies; the viewer. Primal, 
atavistic man knew this and invested his ideas/images 
with unrestricted power; when you deal with image 
only, as with most 20th Century Art, you don't get 
anything back except aesthetics. Spare has achieved 
the previously impossible, a two way communication 
where his image reacts to and with us. It has a life of 
its own. The nearest parallel, a mirror in which you 
can see another world, another time, another 
dimension, yet one you cannot reach into like water, 
one your hand reaching out cannot quite touch; the 
glass remains solid and frustrates us. 

What this energy held within his images is doing 
is transcending the barriers of Time; so what we are 



dealing with is a four-dimensional object or image. 
This form of energy will have existed at all times and 
will exist at all times. 

An objective and critical survey of the available 
data would establish that perceptions occur as if, in 
part there were no space, in part no time. Space and 
Time are not only the most immediate certainties for 
us, they are also empirically, since everything 
observable happens as though it occurred in Space 
and Time. In the face of this overwhelming certainty 
it is understandable that reason should have the 
greatest difficulty in granting validity to the peculiar 
nature of 'telepathic' phenomena. But anyone who 
does justice to the facts cannot but admit that their 
apparent space-timelessness is their most essential 
quality. The fact that we are totally unable to 
imagine a form of existence without Space and Time 
by no means proves that such an existence is in itself 
impossible. And, therefore, just as we cannot draw 
from an appearance of space-timelessness, any 
absolute conclusion about a space-timeless form of 
existence, so we are not entitled to conclude from 
the apparent space-time quality of our perception 
that there is no form of existence without space and 
time. Just as physics now allows for 'limitedness of 
space', a relativization, it is beginning with 
Catastrophe Theory to posit a 'limitedness' of both 
Time and Causality. In short, nothing is fixed, the 
possibilities alone are endless. 

"Conscious looking is a search for verification of 
the notions that impel the search, and always has a 
circular mirroring element in it." 

—T.O.P.Y. 




In Spare's best images it seems a medium has been 
found whereby the essence that survives death, but 
is mostly beyond our communication, has been 
captured by, and transmitted into an object that we 
are familiar with (i.e. a painting), and that we are 
therefore used to trying to interpret or receive 
information from. Because of the familiarity of 
painting we don't put up barriers. We expect to try 
and see what the artist felt, wanted to say. If Spare 
said he was going to capture and demonstrate the 
soul after death, most observers would switch off. 
There would be interference with the transmission. 
Because Spare seduces us by saying this is an 
artwork, a picture, when in fact it is a photograph or 
mirror of an actual reality we remain open-minded 
which means there is more chance that the 
phenomenon of actual physical changes in his 
pictures will happen. We shall see, in short, that 
which many of us rightly choose not to believe in: 
living, moving, changing images of a post-death 
life-force, or soul essence. You see it reacting to you, 
it receives and transmits direct into your conscious 
senses, but it must also be transmitting direct into 
the subconscious also, just as Sigilisation does. 
Presumably we transmit back to what is there so 
what is there will change over the years as it reacts 
with various observers. All these energies mingle and 
mutate. The soul, life-force, energy, call it what you 
will, is generally said to be visible through the 
mirrors of the soul, the eyes. In the 1928 key work of 
Mrs Patterson the eyes are neither open, nor shut, 
and this is true in much of Spare's works. They are 
neither rejecting the possibility of seeing the 
captured soul, nor openly inviting it. This half-shut, 
half-open limbo suggests responsibility lies with the 
viewer to choose to commune with the elemental 
energies portrayed. By painting himself old when he 
was young and young when he was old. Spare 
mirrors Rembrandt once more and clearly directs us 
constantly to links going backwards and forwards 
through time as he succeeds in presenting an image 
of the apparently impossible - IMMORTALITY. 

“Accept nothing, assume nothing, always look 
further, be open-eyed as well as open-minded and 
don't kid yourself." 

—Old T.O.P.Y. Proverb. 

The psyche in its deepest reaches seems well able to 
participate in an existence beyond the accepted web 
of Space and Time. This dimension is often dubbed 
eternity, or infinity, yet it actually behaves, if we 
take Spare's art as representational (it is not 
symbolic), as either a one-way or two-way mirror 
dependent for its function upon the translation of 
the unconscious, into a communicable image that 
bonds the actual molecules of the graphic image 
with its driving forces, unlocked from the 
unconscious into a fixed or mobile source of power 
dependent upon previous viewers, and, more vitally, 
our own abilities to interface directly with its energy. 
All 'matter' is formed of molecules and atoms; 



AUSTIN OSMAN SPARE *115 


therefore, at least in theory, we can potentially walk 
through walls by correct vibration of our own body 
corresponding with the vibration of the wall. It is 
just as theoretically possible to lock energy into the 
form of an image that has the ability to move, 
change, alter and animate its content, the only gap 
of credibility being that of first-hand-experience. We 
don't believe it until it happens to us. We only know 
what we have experienced. Belief is rooted in 
recognition. 

Imagination opens to synthesis something larger 
than the sum total of reason. New images reflect 
more than logical synthesis can produce. There is a 
radical discontinuity in every truly creative idea or 
discovery. Projection direct from image to viewer 
involves more than the logical mode of thinking that 
does the projecting. An idea cannot exist separate 
from an image. For example, the Virgin Mary image 
embodies the idea of 'compassion'. A Goddess or 
God is a figurative image of an idea. Images are the 
root language of social and self control. Science 
attempts to explain the universe objectively, without 
a viewer, therefore it cannot explain Art, or the 
unique effects or phenomena Spare generates by it. 
That is not a possible function of science; it cannot 
tell us why Spare's images can alter, why his faces 
change, eyes open and close, colours vary. 
Photographs are said to steal souls; they certainly 
capture a moment in Time. Freeze it. So do the 
images and oracles of Art, true Art. For Art was 
originally revelatory, shamanistic, fully integrated 
into every moment of life. Spare's images capture 
the process of creation, the thoughts of the creator, 
and the memories of the viewer, which recalls past 
events and feelings that are more compact, briefer, 
than when they took place originally. Memories are 
Past-Time brought into 'Present' Time. 

Time is not linear, all Time exists simultaneously 
and points in every direction simultaneously. It is 
quaquaversal, omnipresent. There is no reason why 
Spare's images should not capture Time, thought and 
experience, then recreate and expand upon it in the 
viewers' mind. Subjective experience is no less real 
than objective conjecture. All roads lead to Rome in 
a mirror-to-mirror function. This function of 
mirroring is found in the trance state in a simple, 
direct way. The higher techniques of idea and artist's 
illusory skill make active through Time and Space 
effects and phenomena normally consigned to the 
sceptical parking lot of modern existence. 

Years of trying to rationalise inexplicable 
experiences adequately fall apart, and only a unique 
reassessment via Spare's self-confessed image sorcery 
begins to give answers to what we see and feel. 
Time mirrors Time. 

In the Mrs Patterson picture Spare depicts her not 
at the moment of death, but as she looked when she 
was young. He depicts himself, then quite young, as 
he would look, old at the moment of death. He thus 
creates a situation of contradiction. She is dead, yet 
alive and young, he is alive and young, yet dead. 
This visualisation makes the image energies circular. 


not closed. That is why the picture is a window, 
mirror, threshold active and useable by them or us. 
The illustration is a key to understanding the entire 
situation and its implications. It is a depiction of the 
real. Spare and Mrs Patterson live on in his art, 
taking the concept of Art being the Life and Soul of 
a culture further than ever before dreamed. The only 
question remaining is, now they have cheated death, 
can they, will they ever come back out? 

"He who transcends Time escapes necessity." 

"All nature is a vast reflection of that which is 
within us, or else we could not know it. ’ 

“Embrace reality by imagination.“ 

“What is death? A great mutation to your next 
self." 

“The life-force is not blind, we are. “ 

—Austin Osman Spare 





THE UNDYING MONSTER 

Hitler & The Nazi UFOs 


Ian Blake 


1 . 

The Undying Monster 

In 1922 Jessie D. Kerruish published a gothic horror 
novel titled The Undying Monster. Plot-wise it was a 
combination of various elements necessary to the 
supernatural mystery genre, including murder, moon- 
madness and hereditary evil. The Undying Monster 
of the title was finally revealed as a werewolf and 
despatched by a stalwart psychic detective. Good 
triumphed over evil (after a fashion) and the cosmic 
balance of the universe was once again restored. A 
film version of The Undying Monster was produced 
in 1942, but to the best of my knowledge the book 
itself has been out of print for many years. I mention 
it here simply because its title sums up one of the 
chief characteristics of all true monsters - namely 
that they are undying. 

The Frankenstein Monster exhibits this 
characteristic. So too does Dracula. So do Dr. Fu 
Manchu and Jason from the Friday The 13th movies. 
Each of these characters has been killed repeatedly, 
both in fiction and (especially) on the big screen. 
And yet, despite all the immolation, despite all the 
burnings, beatings and bodily impalements, they still 
keep on coming back for more. They are archetypes, 
you see. And an archetype cannot be killed. 

In a sense this also applies to Adolf Hitler. He too 
was a 'monster' in human form. And, like Dracula 
and Dr. Fu Manchu, he has achieved a kind of 
immortality in the realm of imagination. American 


conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell of the radio show 
World Watchers seriously postulates that Hitler may 
still be alive. Not only alive but in full possession 
(more or less) of his faculties and actively 
participating in US government policy. She cites as 
evidence the fact that many of Hitler's top advisers 
were secretly flown into the States at the close of 
WWII. There they were given new identities, new 
status, and put to work on a variety of government 
projects relating to 'defence', etc. 

The question of Hitler's advanced age (if alive 
today he would be in the region of 100 years old) in 
no way deters Brussell from her theory. She responds 
by drawing attention to the case of Mikhailovich 
Molotov, who worked for many years with Stalin 
during the '20s and '30s. Molotov went into political 
exile during the mid '50s and was expelled from the 
Communist Party in 1964. In 1984, however, he was 
reinstated, and now receives a full Soviet pension. He 
is, apparently, of sound mind, and still speaks lucidly 
about his aims and ideals. Brussell continues: 

"The main argument that I receive when I talk 
about the possibility that Adolf Hitler is still alive is 
that he’s too old, and that if he’s too old he can’t 
make decisions, and he has to be senile. And I have 
said that there’s no physical evidence of any kind - 
and this is written up in many books, that Adolf 
Hitler and Eva Braun died in the bunker; and there 



HITLER • 117 


is a possibility that Hitler has been directing a lot of 
activity that has been going on since WWII, from 
Antarctica, from Argentina, then Brazil and then into 
Switzerland, where he can have his mind, he can 
have his protectors, and where people know that 
Hitler is alive. The people who want to tell you that 
Hitler is dead have nothing to fall back on except 
the reasoning that even if he were alive he could do 
no harm, and you see that Mr. Molotov, who has a 
good mind, who can speak, who talks about his 
activities, his desires - this throws aside the 
possibility that all 100-year-olds necessarily have to 
be senile and don't know what's happening. To say 
that Molotov is alive therefore Hitler is alive is 
ridiculous, but there is a possibility that, in 
conjunction with top people in our (the US) defence 
department, such as the late Otto Skorzenzcy; or 
Klaus Barbie; or the mysterious Fritz Kramer with the 
monocle, or Peter Drucker and the management of 
our money and our multinational empire, there is no 
way of knowing if the genius of that man isn't still 
around... I have every reason to believe that things 
have gone too smoothly for everyone around Adolf 
Hitler... And there hasn't been a break in what he 
had or did, with his top intelligence chief Reinhardt 
Galen coming into the USA and so forth..." 

Mae Brussell isn't alone in believing that Hitler 
may still be alive and kicking (however feebly). 
According to Gunther Rosenberg of the European 
Occult Research Society: "One persistent rumour in 
occultism is that Hitler, Martin Bormann and many of 
the missing Nazis were spirited out of Germany. 
Some claim they are in South America, and as we 
know, Eichmann was found there. Others who 
believe in the hollow Earth theory claim that a fleet 
of Nazi submarines took Hitler and his henchmen to 
a Nazi base set up under the ice-cap at the South 
Pole. “ 

The 'Hollow Earth' theory referred to by 
Rosenberg derives from a curious amalgamation of 
ancient and modern myths. According to numerous 
texts on the subject our planet is actually a hollow 
sphere with access points at the North and South 
Poles. These access points, enormous holes each some 
1,500(1) miles across, have allegedly been 
photographed on several occasions, notably by the 
ESSA 3 and ESSA 7 satellites in 1967/68. Author and 
UFOIogist Brinsley Le Poer Trench describes the ESSA 
photos as "the most exciting and remarkable ever 
taken." They prove, he says, that UFOs emanate from 
a mysterious region hidden in the bowels of the 
earth - the Agharti of legend. 

A variation of this theory is known to UFOIogists 
as the Nazi hypothesis. It proposes that UFOs are 
actually secret weapons, developed by Hitler and his 
aides during the latter days of WW11 and now 
headquartered in a tropical base beneath the 
Antarctic. Believers in this theory claim that 
international Arctic expeditions conducted in 1946/47 
were actually searches for Hitler, who was thought 
to be still alive. Contemporary UFO 'flaps' are 
explained as reconnaissance trips by Nazi aeronauts 



at the controls of flying saucers. Among the chief 
proponents of this theory are a group based in 
Toronto, Canada, known as Samizdat (actually a 
faction of the neo-Nazi Western Guard). Their 
propaganda speculates that Nazi forces may one day 
return to the surface world and there wreak 
vengeance on Britain and her wartime allies. Because 
of this most UFO pundits feel that the group is 
merely using UFO imagery to promote a groundswell 
of Nazi sentiment. Nevertheless, despite its sheer 
improbability, the Nazi hypothesis has supporters in 
virtually every country on earth. 

I wrote to the Samizdat group circa April 1987, 
requesting further information on their Nazi/UFO 
connections. In reply I was sent details of several 
relevant publications, including Secret Nazi Polar 
Expeditions - Nazi UFO Bases Under the Poles?' (a 
snip at £10) and UFOs - Nazi Secret Weapons (again 
only £10, but "supplies are limited so order NOW!"). 
Also contained in the Samizdat info-pack was a list 
of 64 posters depicting Nazi secret weapons for use 
on land, sea and in the air. I now have the list 
pinned over my desk. It includes drawings of such 
marvellous Heath Robinson gadgets as the Bachstelze 
U-Boot Rotordrachen (a rickety-looking one-man 
gyrocopter) and Krummlaufgewehr (a rifle with a 
bent barrel for shooting around corners). Sure 
enough, poster No. 51, the Fliegende Scheibe 
(Flugkreisel), shows three gleaming discoid UFOs 
drifting across an inky background. Even in such a 
preposterous setting as this, it remains an image of 
considerable force and appeal. 












118 • RAPID EYE 1 


2 . 

What's History 

Nazi policy regarding the hollow earth concept can 
be traced back to a specific incident in 1942, when 
Hitler convened a meeting of his chiefs of staff and 
announced that he was in receipt of important new 
information. “We have just learned that the earth is 
concave, not convex." He allegedly continued, "We 
are living not on the outside, but on the inside. Man 
is like a nest of insects crawling on the inside of a 
crystal bowl." 

"Has this been proved scientifically?" a top aide 
asked dubiously. 

“It has been developed by several scientists of the 
National Socialist party," Hitler replied; "and now we 
must make tests to demonstrate the truth of the 
plan." 

In pursuit of this outlandish theory Hitler gathered 
together many of Germany's leading experts on 
radar techniques and despatched them to Rugen 
Island in the Baltic Sea. There they were ordered to 
set up their equipment in a misguided attempt to 
monitor British shipping manoeuvres. Radar units 
were trained at the sky at an acute angle, and left to 
run for periods of up to a week. As Dr. Gunther 
Rosenberg of the European Occult Research Society 
later explained: "The theory was that radar waves 
travelled in a straight line, so it would be possible to 
obtain a reading on an area beyond the horizon. In 
other words, by bouncing radar rays off the top of 
Hitler's 'bowl' they could obtain a reading of the 
British fleet and its positions. It was one of the most 
fantastic theories in history." 

Needless to say, the Rugen Island expedition failed 
to achieve its objectives and returned to Berlin in 
disgrace. At this Hitler allegedly lost all faith in his 
so-called 'scientific advisors'. Several were shipped 
off to the concentration camps, where, according to 
Gunther Rosenberg, “Himmler’s death's head division 
ofS.S. murdered them and scattered their remains to 
the wind. And yet, despite this setback, the Nazis 
continued to believe in a hollow earth." 

Hitler and his aides apparently derived this bizarre 
fixation from Tibetan esotericism with its persistent 
references to Agharti and Shamballah. They were 
also inspired to a great extent by Bulwer Lytton's 
hollow earth novel The Coming Race, which first saw 
the light of day in 1871. Despite its extreme age The 
Coming Race is still regarded as a classic of 
subterranean lore. The action takes place in a cavern 
world lit by "artificial gas lamps placed at regular 
intervals, as in the city." Here, in this hitherto 
unsuspected realm, live the mysterious Vril-ya, whose 
powers far exceed those of ordinary homo sapiens. 
Tall and statuesque, with inscrutable sphinx-like 
faces, the Vril-ya are nurtured and sustained by a 
fanatical hatred of the surface races. Bulwer Lytton, 
who belonged to several magical orders (including 
Samuel Mathers' Golden Dawn) always maintained 
that their existence was pure invention. The Nazis, 
however, believed otherwise. As early as 1936 they 


began to send teams of explorers into the caves and 
mines of Europe to look for entrances to the hollow 
earth. Their objective, according to Rosenberg, was 
to find “the new, advanced man." In other words, to 
establish contact with the Vril-ya and forge an 
alliance aimed at world domination. 

Hitler apparently gave this research his full 
support. He is said to have encouraged most forms 
of occultism within the Nazi inner circle, whilst 
simultaneously proscribing them elsewhere. Several 
of his most trusted officers even went so far as to 
launch a Luminous Lodge Of The Vril society to learn 
the secret of 'Vril power". There is also some 
evidence to suggest that a black lodge of Tibetan 
monks was established in Berlin to practise ritual 
magic on behalf of the Axis powers. (This may have 
happened as long ago as 1925 following the 
publication of Ossendowski's Men, Beasts And Gods, 
which sparked off renewed interest in hollow earth 
phenomena.) Pauwels and Bergier believe that this 
lodge may have contained anything up to 1,000 
members. Warren Smith takes up the same theme in 
his This Hollow Earth: 

"When Germany fell, Berlin was a smouldering city 
assaulted by the weapons of modern warfare," he 
writes. “The centre of the Third Reich was in flames. 
And in the rubble of Berlin were hundreds of 
thousands of Nazi warriors. Among them were 
several hundred volunteers in the black uniform of 
the S.S. death's head division. They were orientals, 
without badges, papers or any kind of identification. 
They were the last of the black monks who helped 
Hitler's dark, menacing movement." 

Hitler's "dark, menacing movement" came to an 
end in 1945, ground into submission by sheer weight 
of numbers. Nevertheless, rumours persist to this day 
that Hitler didn't die in the ruins of Berlin but went 
'underground' in the literal sense of the term, 
retreating into the bowels of the earth and there 
striking up an alliance with Rex Mundi, the 
legendary King of the World. 

These rumours were again brought to light in the 
early '70s when an organization known as APEN, or 
the Aerial Phenomena Enquiry Network, began to 
make its presence felt in UFO circles. APEN first 
appeared on the scene circa 1974, commencing its 
activities with a sustained propaganda campaign. 
Leading UFO researchers were bombarded with 
letters, articles and other written material for a 
period spanning almost four years. Tape recordings 
heavily interspersed with Nazi war broadcasts and 
martial music were also circulated. At no time did 
the members of APEN identify themselves or specify 
their objectives. Close ties with the American 
government or secret service were implied, but these 
were never proven. In point of fact the structure and 
tactics of APEN were more reminiscent of Hitler's 
Nazi party than anything else. (This impression was 
reinforced by the title of the organization's 
'in-house' magazine, a German phrase meaning 




HITLER • 119 



Photo of the North Pole taken in 1968 by the ESSA-7 Satellite. 
For some, conclusive proof that the earth is hollow. 


'spearhead'.) APEN either disbanded or went 
underground a decade ago, but its influence 
continues to be felt. As leading British UFOIogist 
Jenny Randle's remarks in her book Skycrash: 

“One or two UFO investigators have speculated 
that a fantastic UFO technology was handed on from 
the dying remnants of the Third Reich in 1945. And 
indeed, we know that experimental weapons of a 
distinctly UFO-like appearance were tested during 
the last few months of the war. It is said that a 
Fourth Reich exists, and is readying itself for future 
world leadership. Perhaps there is a group of Nazis 
flying around the world in UFOs. Perhaps APEN are 
(sic) their spy network... “ 

Perhaps... 


3 . 

Notes From The Underground 
Hollow earth lore was given a tremendous fillip in 
March, 1945, with the first publication of Richard 
Shaver's 7 Remember Lemuria' in the science fiction 
magazine Amazing Stories. Shaver was actually a 
lowly welding machine operator from Pennsylvania, 
USA, who, at some time in the early '40s, allegedly 
began to hear 'voices' which helped him to 
remember a former life in legendary Lemuria. 
According to Shaver the lost continents of Lemuria, 
Atlantis and Mu were populated in the distant past 
by beings from another planet. These beings had 
access to a technology far in advance of anything 
mankind has ever possessed. Their reign was a 
veritable golden age in the annals of prehistory. It 
lasted for centuries, only coming to an end when the 
sun began to emit a form of radiation which caused 
them to die out in large numbers. Faced with 
extinction these Titans had no choice but to flee 
back into the depths of space. Some, however. 





120 • RAPID EYE 1 



stayed behind and established a toehold in the 
underground world, where the rays of the sun 
couldn't reach them. Their descendants still live on 
today, clinging to the remains of a now moribund 
technology and attempting to manipulate the lives 
of earth's surface inhabitants. Those who bring harm 
to mankind are known as the Dero (from 
detrimental robots or Abandondero). They are 
usually described as degenerate, idiotic midgets, 
their bodies covered in boils and running sores. 
Another, less populous group are known as the Tero 
- a contraction of terrestrial or integrative robots. 
The Tero are the good guys of the underground 
scene. By using beneficial nutrients, chemicals and 
ray machines they have managed to ward off any 
suggestion of mental or physical degeneration, thus 
retaining their original, almost godlike appearance. 
They now exist for one reason only - to oppose the 
villainous Dero and thwart their machinations. 

For a period spanning almost five years Shaver's 
rambling, barely literate flights of fantasy were 
published as non-fiction in the pages of Amazing 
Stories. Managing editor Ray Palmer is now known 
to have rewritten and expanded the original 
manuscripts, imposing at least some semblance of 
order onto Shaver's prose. Many faithful readers of 
Amazing were scandalized at the presentation of this 
material as fact. Others, however, responded 
favourably and even began to remember exciting 
"past lives" of their own. The reason for this state of 
affairs is simple. The Shaver Mystery touched a 
deeply responsive chord in popular consciousness. 
Like many 'new age' religions it succeeded by 
getting people to notice their IMAGINATIONS for the 
first time. Remembering previous incarnations 
proved to be an appealing concept. Suddenly even 
the lowliest manual worker, his endurance strained 
to breaking point under the dead weight of 
everyday life, could console himself with the thought 
that he had once been a handsome prince or mighty 
warrior in legendary lost Atlantis. It was all great 
fun. 

When interest in the hollow earth began to flag. 


Ray Palmer moved on to the subject of UFOs in a 
new magazine, Fate. The Shaver Mystery, however, 
is still with us today, surviving in the pages of such 
magazines as Shavertron and The Hollow Earth 
Bulletin. Later writers have added their own 
perspective to the mythos, but the basic elements 
remain unchanged. The Dero, for instance, are still 
working constantly to overthrow the surface races. 
To this end they employ all the impedimenta of 
forbidden science, including a fiendish array of 
Telaug and Vision Ray Machines, Tractor Ray Beams 
and Surgical Ray Cannons. With these they are able 
to wreak havoc in the fabric of everyday life. As 
Warren Smith writes in This Hollow Earth: 

“The Dero can instantly change highway traffic 
signals, sabotage industrial machinery and ruin 
complex devices. Have you ever had a machine or 
object that refused to work, then performed 
marvellously when the repairman arrived? A Dero 
may have been amusing himself." 

Quite! 

Among their many unsavoury practices the Dero 
are said to indulge in endless sex orgies, periodically 
using 'Stim Ray ' machines to restore their flagging 
vigour. Not infrequently they will kidnap an 
unfortunate surface girl and rape her repeatedly 
until she dies of exhaustion or sheer physical abuse. 

As one might expect, there is no 'hard' evidence to 
support any of this nonsense, only a mass of personal 
testimony. Take for instance the following letter, 
which appeared in the June 1946 issue of 'Amazing': 

“Sirs: 

I flew my last combat mission on May 26, 1945, 
when I was shot up over Bassein and ditched my ship 
in Remaree Roads off Cheduba Island. I was missing 
five days. I requested leave at Kashmere. I and 
Captain (name deleted by request) left Srinagar and 
went to Rudok, then through the Khese pass to the 
northern foothills of the Karakoram. We found what 
we were looking for. We knew what we were 
searching for. 

For Heaven's sake drop the whole thing! You are 
playing with dynamite. My companion and I fought 
our way out of a cave with submachine guns. I have 
two nine-inch scars on my left arm that came from 
wounds given me in the cave when I was 50 feet 
from a moving object of any kind, and in perfect 
silence. The muscles were nearly ripped out. How? I 
don't know. My friend has a hole the size of a dime 
in his right bicep. It was seared inside. How we don’t 
know. But we both believe we know more about the 
Shaver Mystery than any other pair ..." 

At first the author of this letter requested that his 
identity be withheld. Later his name was revealed: 
Fred Lee Crisman. 

Taken by itself Crisman's testimony is worthless. In 
the light of his subsequent exploits, however, it 
assumes greater significance. Crisman, you see, later 
became a central figure in the notorious Maury 
Island 'slag' mystery, which was to change the face 
of UFO research irrevocably. 

The affair began on June 23, 1947, when a 



HITLER • 121 


"doughnut-shaped object" discharged a shower of 
slag onto a small boat moored off Maury Island near 
Tacoma, Washington, USA. One piece of slag slightly 
injured a fifteen year old boy who was working on 
the boat; another struck and killed the boy's dog. 
The boy's father, Harold Dahl, took him to a nearby 
hospital where his injury was given medical 
treatment. Dahl then reported the incident to his 
'superior officer', who turned out to be none other 
than Fred Lee Crisman of 'Amazing Stories' fame. 

The following day, June 24, 1947, was pivotal in 
the history of UFOIogy. It was marked by three 
closely related events, each of which was to have 
far-reaching implications for the entire field of 
phenomenal research. The first of these began when 
Harold Dahl was visited at his home by a black-suited 
man who recited in detail everything that had 
happened the previous day at Maury Island as if he 
had been there. He then warned Dahl not to discuss 
the incident with anyone, adding that there would 
be unpleasant consequences for his wife and family 
if he disobeyed. "This, " according to John Keel, "was 
the first modern Man In Black report." 

The second of the day's far-reaching events took 
place as Kenneth Arnold, a salesman who lived not 
far from Tacoma, was flying his private plane over 
Mount Rainier in Washington State. Arnold was 
making good time on a journey from Chehalis to 
Yakima when he saw a formation of nine UFOs 
approaching the mountain on a southern trajectory. 
They moved, he later told reporters, "the way a 
saucer would if you skipped it over the water." It 
was from this graphic description that the term 
flying 'saucer' entered the language. 

The third event came when Fred Lee Crisman (who 
just happened to own the boat over which Dahl's 
sighting took place) went to Maury Island to look for 
verification of what had happened. To begin with he 
allegedly found quantities of some strange slag-like 
material strewn along the shoreline. Then he too 
saw a doughnut-shaped UFO flying across the sky. 

Shortly after these events took place, Harold Dahl's 
son disappeared, only to turn up weeks later in a 
distant state, suffering from total amnesia. His entire 
memory had apparently been wiped clean like a 
precious but foolishly unlabelled cassette. Crisman, 
meanwhile, had mailed details of the Maury Island 
UFO sighting to Ray Palmer at Amazing Stories. 
Palmer was intrigued by Crisman's account and 
decided to send an investigator to the scene. With 
this in mind he enlisted the services of Kenneth 
Arnold, whose UFO sighting over Mount Rainier had 
taken America by storm only a short time before. 
Arnold agreed to help and made his way at once to 
Tacoma, where he soon became embroiled in a series 
of mysterious events. Feeling that things were 
getting out of hand, he requested the help of US Air 
Force Intelligence. Two officers, Captain William 
Davidson and Lieutenant Frank M. Brown arrived 
from Hamilton Air Force base in California, and 
began to cast around for evidence. When Dahl was 
unable to produce a film he claimed to have taken 


of the UFOs, the pair lost interest. Feeling that the 
affair was probably a hoax, they boarded their B-52 
for the return flight to Hamilton, taking with them 
samples of the slag collected by Crisman from the 
beach at Maury Island. Twenty minutes after take-off 
their plane burst into flames and crashed to the 
ground. Two enlisted men on board parachuted to 
safety but Brown and Davidson unaccountably stayed 
on board and were killed on impact. 

Dahl subsequently disappeared, and Crisman, who 
had been a flier in WW11, was recalled to active 
service and posted first to Alaska, then to Greenland. 
As John A. Keel later wrote: 

"The Maury Island case fell apart in Kenneth 
Arnold's hands. The slag samples given to him by 
Dahl and Crisman were switched by someone; the 
investigating officers, Brown and Davidson, were 
killed; Dahl vanished; Crisman was literally exiled to 
Greenland for two years; Tacoma newsman Paul 
Lance, who helped Arnold in his investigation, died 
suddenly a short time later. Palmer claims that a box 
filled with the original slag samples was stolen from 
his Chicago office soon afterwards." 

Towards the end of his investigation Arnold was 
taken aside by Ted Morello of the United Press, who 
told him: 

"You are involved in something that is beyond our 
power here to find out anything about... I'm going 
to give you some sound advice: Get out of this town 
until whatever it is blows over.” 

Arnold decided to do just that, heading for home 
in his private plane. He stopped over in Oregon to 
refuel, and, shortly after taking off again, his engine 
stopped cold. Only quick thinking and expert flying 
saved him from certain death. 

"Today," according to Margaret Sachs' UFO 
Encyclopedia, "some UFOIogists believe that the 
Maury Island mystery was a conspiracy involving 
either US or Soviet intelligence agencies. " Support 
for this theory comes from the subsequent exploits 
of Fred Lee Crisman. Twenty years later, in the late 
'60s, his name cropped up in connection with 
another conspiracy. It happened when District 
Attorney James Garrison of New Orleans subpoenaed 
one Fred Lee Crisman of Tacoma to testify before a 
Grand Jury investigation into the assassination of 
John F. Kennedy. Garrison had apparently become 
convinced that a man named Clay Shaw was 
instrumental in the Kennedy affair. (Readers of 
Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger may recall that 
one of Garrison's aides, Allan Chapman of Texas, 
"believed that the JFK assassination was the work of 
the Bavarian Illuminati.") Shaw, however, was 
cleared of all involvement and set free. Garrison's 
conspiracy theories collapsed in court ("he never 
convicted a single conspirator" Robert Anton Wilson 
recounts gleefully) and today he is largely 
discredited. Nevertheless, a number of significant 
events were never explained. Crisman, for instance, 
never testified at the actual trial. As John Keel has it: 
"He was hospitalized in 1969 after being shot during 
an attempt on his life only days before he was due 




122 • RAPID EYE 1 


to testify." Crisman eventually recovered and 
changed his name to Jon Gold. He died in 1978 amid 
persistent rumours that he had once been either a 
CIA agent, or an operative in the field of 'industrial 
warfare'. 

To review events in some kind of chronological 
order: Crisman made his first recorded appearance as 
an exponent of the Hollow Earth concept, which, as 
we have already seen, has disturbing Nazi 
connotations. He later resurfaced in connection with 
the very first modern Man In Black encounter and 
the first UFO sightings of the so-called 'modern era'. 
Of those involved with him in the Maury Island case, 
one disappeared (Harold Dahl), a second suffered 
total memory loss (Dahl's son), and several more 
were killed outright (officers Brown and Davidson, 
newsman Paul Lance). Another investigator only 
escaped with his life by sheer fluke (Kenneth 
Arnold). Crisman's next appearance in the public eye 
came in November 1968, when he was implicated in 
the trial of Clay Shaw. Wire service stories identified 
Crisman as a radio announcer, but District Attorney 
Jim Garrison's investigators implied that he was 
either a member of the CIA, or had been engaged in 
undercover activity for a part of the industrial 
warfare complex. It was also alleged that Crisman 
posed as a preacher, and took part in "work to help 
gypsies". A would-be assassin's bullet prevented 
Crisman from testifying before Garrison's Grand Jury, 
neatly heading off any speculation about his 
involvement in the Kennedy affair. The full story, 
therefore, may never be told. Nevertheless, even this 
skeletal version of events points, as Jim Garrison 
himself remarked, to “a conspiracy so vast as to 
stagger the imagination." 


4 . 

"It Was Forty Years Ago Today..." 

In compiling this article I have tried to show how, 
sooner or later, virtually all conspiracy theories seem 
to overlap or converge. Some are linked by 
significant events; others by the presence of key 
individuals, such as the enigmatic Fred Lee Crisman, 
who appears to have taken part in everything from 
the 'invasion' of UFO and MIB lore to the J.F.K. 
assassination. Coincidence also plays an important 
part in joining together apparently diverse belief 
systems. The great psychologist Carl Jung referred to 
this process as " synchronicity", while District 
Attorney Jim Garrison preferred the term 
"propinquity". Even the most casual investigator 
soon begins to find himself surrounded by random 
but apparently meaningful events. For instance, after 
typing up the bulk of this article I switched on the 
radio for a time-check and caught the tail-end of a 
programme change. “Good morning," a typically 
vacuous DJ was intoning; "it's June the 
twenty-fourth, another wet, rainy day, and you're 
listening to..." It was only then that I realized what 
date it was: June 24, 1987. In other words, exactly 
forty years to the day after the events I'd just 
finished writing about. Hardly an earth-shattering 
coincidence, but one worth mentioning. And indeed, 
the entire field of phenomenal research is full of 
such odd happenstances. (Such as the fact that the 
first edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Principia 
Discordia, as featured in the llluminatus trilogy, was 
printed in 1963 on a Xerox machine owned by our 
old friend Jim Garrison.) The following day brought 
another surprise, when I received in the post a book 
donated by a correspondent. I have it beside me as 
I type these words. Written by Toyne Newton and 
titled The Demonic Connection, it purports to be “an 
investigation into Satanism in England, and the 
international black magic conspiracy." 

According to one chapter, “Legend has it that 
somewhere in the dales of the West Riding of 
Yorkshire there is an entrance to the underground 
world. Further research reveals the belief that there 
exists underneath the old mines at Wharfedale in 
Yorkshire an underground tunnel that links with 
others, and which ultimately leads to Agharti itself." 
What is interesting about this revelation (which came 
as a complete surprise to me) is that / live in what 
was once the West Riding of Yorkshire. And I'd 
visited Wharfedale only a few days before. 

In researching this article I was particularly struck 
by the way in which many seminal UFO events 
appear to have been manufactured by some 
unknown agency. This 'manufactured' quality is 
evident even in the case of George Adamski, one of 
the earliest and most famous of all saucer 
'contactees'. Adamski was a self-styled Professor of 
Eastern Mysticism who gave his address as Mount 
Palomar Observatory (it later transpired that he ran 
the hamburger stand next door). During the 1950s 
he wrote three books about his alleged meetings 
with beings from outer space. His disciples included 




HITLER • 123 



Technical plans of a Nazi ‘UFO’ 


Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, and Pope John, 
who presented him with a special medallion. Later 
researchers, however, have theorised that Adamski 
was the victim of a colossal hoax perpetrated by US 
government agents. Author Leon Davidson has 
devised a particularly ingenious explanation for the 
spaceships in which Adamski allegedly travelled to 
the moon. They were, he says, man-made devices 
whose windows were actually TV screens showing 
filmed vistas of outer space. Jacques Valine, on the 
other hand, suggests that Adamski's experiences 
were part of a deliberate conspiracy to unite 
mankind by creating a bogus extraterrestrial threat. 
He also points out that Adamski " had pre-war 
connections with American fascist leader William 
Dudley Pelley, who was the leader of the Silver 
Shirts, an American Nazi group which began its 
activities in 1932." Again, that disturbing link 
between UFO cults and Nazism. (Another seminal 
contactee, George Hunt Williamson, aka Michel 
d'Obrenovic, was a member of Pelley's racist occult 
group Soulcraft in the 1950s.) Whatever the case, we 
may be sure that Adamski wasn't entirely 'on the 
level'. On balance the evidence points, yet again, to 
a conspiracy aimed at deceiving people by 
introducing a new and completely spurious belief 
system. 


This article isn't complete; it doesn't pretend to be. 
So far I have barely scratched the surface of this 
fascinating subject. I'm presently trying to establish 
contact with several UFO and occult groups in the 
hope of finding out more about the way in which 
they interact. For the time being, however, I've 
merely provided a number of new avenues for 
further research. I leave the task of carrying out this 
research to other, possibly more capable hands. 




I BECOME A MURDERESS 



Kathy Acker 


Intention: I become a murderess by repeating in 
words the lives of other murderesses: 

I become a murderess. 

I'm born in the late autumn or winter of 1827. 

Troy, New York. 

My childhood is happy, and my parents allow me 
to do whatever I please as long as I, by my actions, 
don't infringe on their high social standing. My 
father is a great and wealthy man, a tall man, whom 
I look up to. As a child, among my dolls, I feel safe. 
I will never die. No one can hurt me. My mother, my 
father, my two older sisters, my younger sister, and 
my brother often ignore me, or promise to love me, 
give me a present, then don't; and I cry. My name at 
this time is Charlotte Wood. 

I don't remember any of my childhood before I 
was 6 years old when I started learning to read. My 
eldest sister marries a baronet and lives in England; 
my second elder sister marries a doctor and moves to 
Scotland. I'm an obedient child: I stubbornly do what 
my parents and their associates want me to do. I 
hallucinate. I climb trees, stick needles up the asses 
of young boys. I hallucinate that the Virgin Mary 
wears black leather pants and a black leather 
motorcycle jacket, she climbs trees, she doesn't give 
a fuck for anyone. (I call up D in Los Angeles do you 
want to sleep with me with me when and where 
there why don't you spend a few days with me I'll 
call you tomorrow. No call three days later I'm 
maniacal I have to see D I don't know him hello I've 
got a ride to Los Angeles lie I'm not sure I know 
where we can stay should I not come up come up. 
We don't touch talk about anything personal until 
we get to motel never talk about anything personal 


spend night together I have to be at Irvine in the 
morning I'm busy call me Friday. Do you want me to 
call you yes. I call Friday call Saturday Sunday this is 
Kathy O uh do you want to spend a night with me 
again are you too busy I'm too busy uh goodbye 
have a good time in New York uh goodbye.) 

When I'm 16,1 board for the next two years at the 
Female Seminary in Troy, the school my elder sisters 
went to. The school sits by a large lake, or ocean; I 
spend my free time staring at the blue then green 
then white water. I want to be a mermaid: I swim 
under the heavy water with my legs together; the 
heavy muscles in my arms move the rest of my body. 
I want someone, a man, to walk up to me while I'm 
standing on a stone terrace, put his arms around my 
shoulders, his hand brush the hair off my forehead. 
While I'm at school, I meet the only love of my life. 
He is honest with me, as intelligent and paranoid as 
I am. My father forbids our marriage because my 
lover's family has insufficient social connections. 
When my (adopted) father suspects I've been 
sleeping with my future husband, he slobbers over 
me. Rape. My parents take me out of the Seminary, 
1846, and return me to their home in Quebec. 

I'm 19 years old, I meet Lieutenant William F. A. 
Elliot, eldest son of a baronet, who loves me, and, 
with the help of my parents, forces me to marry him. 
I have to get married. My new husband plans to take 
me to New York to England but I'm no longer safe. 
I change my woman's clothes to man's clothes, roam 
through the streets of New York. My parents, my 
husband, and I have locked me in a prison and I'm 
unable to fuck anyone. England is worse. Europe is 
worse. Scotland France Italy. These are the first signs 



KATHY ACKER • 125 


of my madness. 

Despite my two children (I fantasize D calls me 
that's impossible I fantasize he reads my letter to B 
he finds out decides he likes me we're both in New 
York or Los Angeles he undoes my black velvet cape, 
puts the palms of his hands over my nipples, rubs his 
hands quickly up and down his hands swerve around 
to the centre of my back he pulls my body against 
his body I begin to open my stomach he leads me to 
a hard bed lays down his stocky body under me) I 
leave my husband, I decide, I get out, leave my 
children out I go back home to America. My maid 
Helen comes with me. I hate everyone, I want to kill 
everyone, a rich famous man at a hotel in New York 
City sees me, I know what he wants, I go back home. 
The man has a lot of influence. My parents hate me, 
they drive me out of their house in Quebec, I've left 
my husband, I have no right to leave a man 
especially a man who loves me, I’m weird. I'm not a 
robot. Get the hell out, get the hell out of here. Do 
what I want. Get the hell out everywhere. Fuck 
them. Fuck them shit up their ass. 

I have no money I'm on the street I'm dying no 
one's going to help me they step on me I puke I 
cause whatever happens to me I'll get the fuck out 
of here. 

On the boat back to New York I have paranoid 
delusions: I believe that the man who is staring at 
me is not staring at me out of desire, lust etc. Spies 
haunt my footsteps at every hour of the night. I 
allow the man to talk to me so I can find out who 
my husband my parents has hired him to spy on me. 
Fuck me. I don't love this man; in the future I will 
never love him. I have a paranoid delusion I'm 
revenging myself on my parents. I'm escaping. I 
become crazier. 

I give a party for my doll. 

In Albany: I'm 23 years old; my lover tells me I'm 
beautiful and intelligent. I can't speak to anyone else 
but him. After skulking in the streets of Troy, I force 
myself to move to Albany, New York where I'll be 
freer. I'm constantly alone; I have no one to talk to. 
There's no one to whom I can be myself. The people 
who live in Albany hate me; they don't notice me, 
I'm in disguise, they talk solely about me when I can 
barely hear them. (I sneak down to the dark green 
hall to the edge of the doorway of my parents' 
bedroom I'm supposed to be asleep my father’s 
telling my mother I'm bad and worthless child I can 
barely hear what my parents are saying.) I have to 
buy a pistol I scare my new maid so much she swears 
out a warrant for my arrest. Everyone hates me they 
just want to fuck me they don't want to fuck me. 
The cop finds me with my new lover; my lover gets 
me out of jail. No matter where I move in Albany 
everyone talks about me. I force myself to move back 
to Troy. Seclusion. 

25. Not 25. 

To escape my parents, I tried to fuck whoever I 
wanted, lean on a number of people; I become more 
closely imprisoned. I don't want anyone to tell me 
what I should do. I don't want anyone following me 


around, secretly gossiping about me, because I'm not 
also a robot. 

In Troy I learn not to talk to anyone, even my 
maids, I make my life-long plans in secret. I travel to 
Boston, then to England, back to my beloved 
husband. My lover follows me to Boston, he puts his 
arms around the upper part of my body where are 
you going I'll take care of you I love you I'm the only 
person who can take care of you he's tall and thin 
grey hair I don't care who he is I don't care what he 
looks like his hand swings down the side of my thin 
body into the waist the broad spread of my ass I 
don't know what I look like skin separates from skin 
in my cunt the skins below my navel around my 
navel reveal a hand curves around the edges of the 
soft skins. 

He takes my left hand places it below his cock on 
softer skin his hand rests above my hand his cock 
rises above his hand I shape move my hand around 
his skin he begins to moan I hear body rolls side to 
side I squeeze my hand in out I feel his hands grasp 
the turns of my shoulders push me down along his 
body lies over my body so that his cock moves in and 
out of my mouth between the opening of the skins 
I form a long narrow tunnel I begin to move my 
thighs up. 

(I come out of the bathroom buttoning my pants 
I ask him to put on the T.V. my left hand touches his 
shoulder he suddenly turns toward me I've wanted 
him to turn toward me quickly I feel wet lips tongue 
in the centre of my mouth the sudden change from 
dream-fantasy to reality makes me unable to react 
he lifts my body on to the bed I feel his tongue 
enter my mouth the sudden change from fantasy- 
dream to reality makes me unable to react we both 
lie on our right sides I in front of you your cock 
touches the lips of my cunt enters the wet canal your 
arms tightly clasp my body around the waist warm 
fur up down my spine your cock slips out I bend my 
body until my hands almost touch my toes though I 
lose warmth of your skin I can feel your cock moving 
inside my skin skins I can begin to come the muscles 
of my cunt begin to move around your cock my 
muscles free themselves swirl to the tip of my clit out 
through my legs the centre of my stomach new 
newer muscles vibrate I'm beginning to come I don't 
know you.) 

These are my insanities: I tell people I see on the 
street my neighbours are conspiring against me. I 
arm myself with pistols, threaten my enemies I'll rape 
murder them. My neighbours are a band of burglars 
who're planning to rob me. One of them has 
stopped all navigation on the Hudson. I hold a magic 
cork in my mouth which will accomplish everything. 
As the sun comes up each morning, I wander around 
the streets of Troy in disguise. I can appear to be 
sane (a robot). 

I will never again write anything. 

My only friends are the poor unwanted people of 
Troy. I hate the rich shits, will do anything to destroy 
them. I'm not political. I buy my meagre groceries 
from a grocery-saloon keeper, an Irish bum, Timothy 




126 • RAPID EYE 1 


Lanagan, who has a wife and 4 children. I know that 
I'm drinking too much beer and brandy, I'm too 
close to myself to think clearly about my 
degradation, my unhappiness. I'm scared all the time. 
I don't know what to be scared about. I love I don't 
love I hate I don't hate I'm scared I'm not scared I kill 
I don't kill. I'm beginning to learn who my enemies 
are. 

One day the spring of '53 I'm at a dance in the 
Lanagans' booze-parlour I've learned how to speak 
the correct language one of the disgusting men 
insults me. No one believes he insults me. I don't 
know anyone I can really talk to. The Lanagans' filth 
ask me to leave. I'll show them. This time I'll revenge 
myself. I tell my gardener to ask the Lanagans to 
lend me two dollars. My gardener's thinking of 
killing me I ask the Lanagans myself for the two 
bucks they don't have any money they're starving I 
know exactly what's happening. I go back home. (I 
dream I return to New York I'm going to miss an 
important meeting of radicals in the middle of St. 
Mark's Place I sit in an uptown apartment stare out 
a window of course I miss the meeting I wander into 
the church when it's empty night.) 

Two hours later I walk into the Lanagans' back 
room tell the Lanagans and the mysterious men the 
truth: my husband just had a railroad accident. I 
know exactly what's happening. 

Two hours later I walk into the Lanagans' back 
room. The Lanagans are eating. I ask the Lanagans 
for an egg, and Mrs. Lanagan gives me the egg and 
a peeled potato. I invite her and her sister-in-law to 
drink beer with me. I know I'm a drunk. I'm clever, 
this is my plan: 

I ask Mrs. Lanagan for sugar they refuse I just 
bought sugar I ask Mrs. Lanagan to put powdered 
sugar in my beer she brings back powered sugar in 
a saucer, two glasses, some beer. I ask Mrs. Lanagan 
for enough beer to fill the glasses to the brim I now 
have the sugar bowl in my hand. She leaves gets 
more beer. I spoon the sugar and arsenic I bought 
ten days ago to kill rats in the beer. Mrs. Lanagan 
notices powder on the top of the beer. It's good to 
drink. Lanagan calls his wife to mind the store 
Lanagan drinks the untouched beer. The sister-in-law 
drinks her beer. Two hours later Mrs. Lanagan tells 
me I've killed her husband and sister-in-law. She tells 
me to go home. 

I feel angry. I've forgotten how to feel. I feel like 
I've done what I wanted. I feel elated. I've succeeded 
forgetting my parents. (I awake between 11.00 and 
1.00 for a half hour to an hour clean up, talk to 
friends, eat, spend an hour on the beach, exercise, 
work for the next 8 hours taking 3 or 4 short breaks, 
eat a quick meal, drink wine or play chess to calm 
myself, fuck or don't, fall asleep. I speak to almost 
no one because I find it difficult to find people who 
will accept my alternating hermitage and maniacal 
falling-in-love. My style forces me to live in San 
Francisco or New York. I don't want to learn to drive 
a car I love cities I have to be sure I keep working 
hard in a large city.) During my childhood I give 


ample signs I'm wild, unlike my parents and other 
people. I run away with a gang of gypsies from my 
family's estate, my father is heavy dull I'm meek my 
mother's beautiful I elope with one of the grooms. 
I have gold hair, large blue eyes. I'm always 
laughing. I'm very tough. Because I won't stop being 
a tomboy, my parents decide I have to get married. 
I want to get married to get away from my parents 
do whatever I want to do. I'm born poor St. Helen's, 
the Isle of Wight. 1790. As a child, I had hardly any 
food to eat. My parents go to the work-house; I 
become a farmer's maid. The shits begin to tell me 
that if I don't become humble, respectful, I have to 
have security... I'm going to rape you you need 
security... I become chambermaid in a hotel. I know 
better. 

They take me to jail. My lover who has kept me in 
the white house by the river never appears to help 
me. The Troy Female Seminary where I went to 
school announces in the local newspaper that 
Charlotte Wood lives in England. I'm Henrietta 
Robinson. My brother visits me in prison, due to the 
uproar, shaking, I'm not his sister. I wear a veil. I try 
to commit suicide but the shits save me. How do I 
get the vitriol? They make me confess the truth. 

(I live quietly I change my way of life I eat grains 
vegetables some dairy products because I have an 
ulcer I'm too poor to see a doctor about once a 
month I fall in love with someone at the same time 
I live with Peter who I love I rarely form friendships 
I deal awkwardly with people I fall in love with.) 

I'm born poor St. Helen's, Isle of Wight. 1790. As a 
child I have hardly any food to eat. 

I'm still a child when I see my father and mother 
dragged to the local poorhouse, I walk alone on the 
city streets an old man stops me asks me if I need 
help I run away a dark man sticks his hand under my 
sweater touch my flat chest a local farmer takes me 
in general maid. Three years of shit I have to be 
tough I learn fast. I know I have to get myself what 
I want: The fuck with the farm-life I vanish. 

I walk through a black world if I want something 
I have to get it. These are my next jobs - before I 
begin to do what I want: assistant in millinery place 
in the West End of London where I get fired for 
sleeping with a workman, I learn I can't sleep with 
who I want until I get enough money; I almost 
starve; hawk oranges in the gallery of Covent Garden 
theatre; become the mistress of a wealthy army 
officer. I'm too insecure, I'm still almost a slave, I'm 
not yet fully planning every step of my future life, 
but grasping on to this man who can feed me and 
clothe me and hold me warm. 

I make my first mistake: I become too calm I 
identify too much with this man who stops me from 
starving. I become confused, I forgot my ambition 
and the ambition becomes misplaced: I have no 
clothes so I want more clothes; I think I can do what 
I want without fear of starvation so I order my lover 
around. I'm learning about lies. (I wear men's 
clothes, jeans cut an inch above the hair of my cunt 
I hold the jeans up with a studded brown leather 




KATHY ACKER • 127 


belt when I sit on my waterbed where I write the 
material of the crotch of the pants presses against 
my cunt lips I'm always slightly hot I masturbate 
often when I write I write a section 15 minutes to an 
hour when I unbuckle my brown leather belt either 
unzip my jeans and/or squeeze my hand between the 
cloth of the jeans and my abdomen the lower palm 
of my hand masturbating calms me down maintain 
a level energy I can keep working the last two days 
I haven't wanted to fuck P because D hurt me I wear 
men's clothes jeans cut an inch above) I act too much 
like a man, I seem too forceful; despite my beauty 
my lover leaves me. I'll give you 50 pounds a month, 
I need more, you spend too much money, you don't 
save up enough money. I look at myself in the mirror 
I don't understand whether I'm beautiful plain or 
ugly I have to use what I see as an object make it as 
attractive as possible to other people. Now I'm two 
people. 

The second step of my success begins in hell. No 
one notices me despite my beauty and intelligence; 
I try to teach myself politics and philosophical theory 
but I begin again to starve. No one can get me 
down; I'll show the creeps. I'm wandering in hell the 
streets stink of shit I want to be able keep doing 
new and different actions I can't find how, the dogs 
eat the limbs of living humans and howl. Robbers 
mingle with the corpses of rich men and no one 
denies the rich the aristocrats anything. I decide to 
become servant to the madame of a brothel 
patronized especially by foreign royalties and 
noblemen forced to flee the enmity of the 
revolutionary governments in their own countries. 
The social bums, as long as their vision isn't 
annihilated by starvation and fear, usually known 
more about the ways men operate and kill in a city, 
than do the wealthier. I go straight for the 
information, the knowledge, I'm curious; I'm too 
vivacious charming dazzling to be fired. I hide my 
ambition then my knowledge behind this new front. 
Fuck them, I don't have to pretend to be humble 
and sweet. The only men I meet are the servants of 
aristocrats, not the aristocrats themselves. 

The Due de Bourbon one night tells his valet Gay 
that all beautiful women are stupid. Gay protests, 
mentions me, does His Royal Highness want to meet 
me? I've somewhat attracted a near relative of 
Queen Victoria and an earl, but I'm not sure of 
them. This time luck favours me. I meet the Due de 
Bourbon in the house in Piccadilly and become his 
mistress. Almost the entire rest of my life I devote to 
His Royal Highness, who I do not love, but use. 
Intellectually, I don't know if I can love anyone. I 
want what I want if I let myself become involved 
with a man his socially-made power over me will 
make me merge with him. I'll lose myself, my 
ambition. Perhaps at some times I love the Due de 
Bourbon, but at every moment I have to tell myself 
I'm using him. I'm separate from him, so that I keep 
our powers at least equal. His Royal Highness, like 
me, is ambitious, and I know how to play someone 
who is like me. 


First, I have to insure that I'll never again hawk 
winkles in Covent Garden theatre, work for a fat 
imperious prostitute in any house, spread my legs, 
watch women smile flirt with men I know they hate 
I always try to look young that's the only way I can 
keep my lover I'm 23 years old I look at pictures of 
myself when I'm 20 so I know how to compose my 
facial muscles so I still look like I'm 20 I do a strip to 
keep the muscles under my skin tight and smooth 
why do you ruin yourself this way I'm too old to 
sleep with a woman I'm getting older I'll stop being 
beautiful my intelligence can't influence His Royal 
Highness unless it's backed by a strict education; I 
have to force His Royal Highness to respect me and 
need my advice about his personal and political 
affairs. 

My goal: to enslave the Due de Bourbon so I'll be 
safe, be part of the court aristocracy, so noble men 
and women will ask for my opinions, especially the 
men, I can kick them in their asses for the rest of my 
life. No one will look down on me and starve me 
again. The Due de Bourbon laughs at my charming 
desire to study: I learn French, Greek, Latin the 
expertise of a university don: 

I have to learn to use my defeats. I never again 
become defeated. About the Due de Bourbon: My 
name is Sophie Dawes. He is married. A reversal in 
the politics of France restores to him his vast 
ancestral possessions and political powers. By this 
time, I am the only member of the royal set who can 
influence him, who can please him, who has his 
trust. He returns home to Chantilly, his palace: he 
tries to explain to me that recent upsets in the 
French Government force him to live quietly with his 
wife and to abandon me, his mistress. He's a tall 
slender man, and man whose subtle and quick 
intelligence in hindered by his belief in the restrictive 
morals of his ancestors. He's frightened of being 
alone and being disliked. I become scared of again 
starving and of being without him. I show him he's 
blind: he'll never again feel the touch of my hands 
inside his thighs, he'll live alone, not even knowing 
if his abandonment of them helped his political 
career and the affairs of the Country. I love him 
more than I ever have or will. How can I tell? 
(remember)? I'm scared, I'm no longer beautiful: I'm 
tall and heavy, my features are large, slightly red. I 
can only rely on my wits, like any man. 

What happens? I enter the palace, Chantilly; the 
Due de Bourbon subjugates his poor wife; for 14 
years I rule that part of the court aristocracy. I want 
both men and women to love me. I don't have 
enough control the women look down on me; they 
sense I once worked in a whorehouse, I'm not 
married, fuck them, I'm not a robot, I want to love 
them, I want to walk into a room, watch them flock 
to me so I can kick their shit up their assholes. When 
you've come from the gutter, done everything you 
can to stay alive, rich and famous, you don't forget 
anything, you get a photographic memory. I tell the 
Due de Bourbon I want to ease his wife's position at 
Chantilly. I now make use of the ambiguity of my 




128 • RAPID EYE 1 


position at Chantilly to raise my social position in the 
court. I bribe an old watchmaker 10,000 francs to tell 
Adrien Victor de Feuch^res, a young nobleman in 
the Royal Guards, that I'm the daughter of the Due 
de Bourbon and have a dowry of ten million francs. 
I have to get married. 

The next day I marry Adrien in London; my lover 
gives my husband a position in his household. I meet 
the King and Queen of France. I entertain royalty; 
I'm 29 years old, I'm not beautiful; I own jewellery, 
horses and carriages; my husband purchases two 
estates for me because his other property, when he 
dies, descends to the nearest blood relation; I visit 
the Court several times. What does this wealth mean 
to me? I can no longer remember any of the events 
of my childhood. One of my brothers dies in a 
workhouse infirmary. I'm able to do the work I want 
and have the men I respect discuss my and their 
work among each other and with me. I care about 
the economic aspect as much as I care about my 
fucking with men. I often sleep with my women 
friends, I lie under heavy quilts, my body next to my 
friend's body; I place my lips on her lips, I put my left 
arm under her soft head, dark curling hair, my right 
arm around her left shoulder my hand touches her 
back. Her thousands of long arms draw my body 
against the front of her body so my head rests under 
her head in the hollow of her neck and chest. My 
eyes are closed. For a long time we lie still like this 
we both rest at the edge of sleep. I don't have the 
leisure to be monogamous. Other women sleep 
around our bed watch us. My sex operates as a mask 
for my need for friends. 

I make a major mistake. I stop trying to gain more 
power; for me, respectability. My husband realises I 
am the Due de Bourbon's lover not his daughter; 
censures the Due de Bourbon, god knows for what 
the fucking moralist; writes to the King; resigns his 
commission in the Royal Guards; and disappears. The 
King informs me I'm no longer allowed in Court. The 
Due de Bourbon tries to console me. Give me more 
money. I spend almost all my money trying to 
reobtain my right of entry to the Court; I can find no 
way to do what I want. This is the first time anyone 
has absolutely denied me (I remember). I can't 
understand, deal with the situation. I begin to 
become monomaniacal and learn the nature (non¬ 
nature) of reality. 

The duke, like most men over 70, is attracted to 
young charming women. I'm neither young nor 
charming; he could abandon me any day, tell me 
nothing until the disaster occurs. I discharge almost 
all the servants who are loyal to the duke; I 
substitute my servants who check all his mail. The 
duke might revenge himself on me for his 
imprisonment by secretly making a new will and 
dying. I fight. I have to get as rich as possible. 

If I make the duke leave me all his money, the 
duke's relations will begin a series of lawsuits which 
will, at best, tie up the money while I'm alive. I ask 
the duke to make the younger son of the Due 
d'Orleans, the cousin of the King, his heir. (1) The 


Due d'Orleans is almost impoverished, will gladly 
help me to obtain the money if he can get part of it. 
Poverty destroys stupid scruples. (2) The royal family 
will help settle the will, as relatives to the Due 
d'Orleans, and they'll grant me the right of entry to 
the Court. The duke refuses to make a d'Orleans his 
heir. I force him to. Am I doing wrong? The duke 
secretly plots to flee Chantilly; I find this out; he 
hides in the corner of an old room, his frail body 
shakes when he sees me. He tries to bribe me to 
leave him 50,000 pounds. I watch myself destroy him, 
I become more scared that he'll take possession of 
me. I'm often too frightened to fuck, to let myself 
open myself. Masturbate. 

The King informs me he is graciously pleased to 
receive me at his Court. Louis Philippe becomes King 
of France. One night the duke and I are dining at 
the Chateau de Saint-Leu, a present the duke has 
given me. (I don't like or don't care about most 
people; when I decide I like someone I over-react I 
scare the person. I know I’m going to over-react, no 
one I like will like me, I try to hide my feelings by 
acting like a sex maniac, excuse me, would you like 
to sleep with me, I begin to think I'm only sexually 
interested in the person. I chase the person, I'm 
vulnerable, I act as tough as possible to cover my 
vulnerability. I don't know how to tell people I like 
I want to be friends, sit next to them so I can smell 
the salt on their skin, try to learn as much as possible 
about their memories, ways of perceiving different 
events. Because most people I like don't like me. I'm 
scared to show them I like them. I feel I'm weird. I 
don't comprehend what signals a person I like gives 
indicate the person likes me, what signals indicate 
the person dislikes me). The duke, two gentlemen- 
in-waiting, and I play whist; the duke calmly tells 
Gay, his head valet, he wishes to be woken at 8.00 
the next morning, and retires to his bedroom. I feel 
restless. I see a warm friend of mine, a woman 
servant who tells me she knows the duke has made 
a secret will which disinherits me. Where's the will? 
She shows me the will. If I destroy the will, the duke 
will eventually discover its disappearance, make a 
new will. I can stop this only by killing him. My 
friend understands. We sneak quietly to the duke's 
bedroom, we use two of the duke's handkerchiefs to 
strangle him in his bed, sailors' knot my nephew 
taught me when he stayed with me at Chantilly; we 
move the huge heavy bed the duke sleeps in two 
feet away from the wall, hang the thin body by the 
handkerchiefs from the fastening of the strong 
French window, the feet of the duke 30 inches above 
the floor. The duke seems to have committed suicide. 

My name is Laura Lane. I'm born in Holly Springs, 
Mississippi, in 1837. My name is Adelaide Blanche de 
la Tremouille. I K A, fall in love with D; D burns me. 

When I'm 16 I marry William Stone who owns a 
liquor store in New Orleans. He likes to think of 
himself wearing black leather, studded flashy boots, 
he drinks, shoots bullets into the walls around me, I 
learn to handle guns, I have to do what I do, into 
the chicken coops, he threatens he wants to kill 



KATHY ACKER • 129 


someone. I learn about that fantasy. He holds a gun 
to my head when he's drunk so he can watch me 
throw fits. I love my mother; we decide to go to San 
Francisco together. First fantasy. 

I marry Colonel William D. Fair, a lawyer. Lawyers 
tell you what's wrong, what's right. The Colonel 
shows me if I don't do what he wants, he'll kill 
himself. Phooey. Two years later, he shoots himself 
in the head with a Colt six-shooter. Am I supposed to 
feel guilty? Second fantasy. 

My mother, I, my six year old daughter Lillias, with 
three hundred bucks, head for the silver, Virginia 
City, Nevada. Head for the money without a man. I 
have to do what I have to do. Single-handed I open 
the Tahoe House, make a success out of my hotel. I 
don't want to sit in my room, count my money 
forever; I got sexually burned twice. Big shit. I want 
more than money and fame. Third fantasy. 

I meet Alexander Parker Crittenden and fall deeply 
in love with him. He's 46, a hawk; the first time we 
fuck, he holds me on top of him in bed, he's 
surprisingly gentle especially since he's a bad fuck. 
Has no idea how to touch the skin around my clit, 
give me pleasure. Fourth fantasy. 

My mother believed that marriage, both marriage 
and monogamy, cause the people involved to lose 
their ambition, wits, and sense of humour, especially 
the people who have less of the power. My mother's 
neighbours son showed my mother they would 
accept no bastard weirdos in their robot town; my 
father, a well-to-do Englishman, flees with me to 
England. 

On April 9, 1895 I marry a man who I've met only 
once before my father's paid him to marry me 
because I'm a bastard. 

The story of seven years: The early 1860's in 
Virginia City, Nevada. 30,000 people shove to get 
themselves as rich as possible. I don't want to be rich 
and famous. You can kill whoever you please as long 
as you've got a reason. Make one up. Wild dogs 
howl beneath the gangrened limbs of the old. 
Respectable has no real meaning. I'm 19 years old 
five feet three inches tall large dark eyes curly hair I 
know about music and art. Crittenden's a famous 
lawyer; elected to Nevada's first General Assembly; 
holds one of the most successful corporate practices 
in the state. Like me, he believes in being politically 
powerful, socially respectable, and rich. We're both 
tough; we do what we have to do; we don't believe 
in bucking other people, the society, unless we have 
to. We're both loyal Southerners who respect the 
ways of luxury and tradition. When some fucking 
Yankee runs his puke Union flag up the pole that 
stands outside Tahoe House, I flash my revolver, 
order the Yankee off the roof; no; I shoot the son- 
of-a-bitch. 

The bastards arrest try me for attempted murder. 
I appear to go along with society, but that's what 
they are; bastards. Crittenden, my lover, has the 
same respect for society I've got my flashy looks. He 
uses his prestige and money: impanels a jury of 
twelve secessionists, prays aloud to Shakespeare and 


Jeff Davis; his silver tongue gets me off the hook. I 
learn about the nature of reality and love Crittenden 
even more. In this situation, murder means nothing. 

All that matters to me is my love for Crittenden I 
think about him every hour I imagine I see him again 
he tells me he hates me I turn around in the 
bathroom I see his blue eyes next to my eyes I put 
my hands on his shoulders he closes my body with 
his body his skins close wild horses around my skin. 

What are the sources for this insane love? In what 
ways is my desire to have someone I love with me 
connected to a desire to murder? (When I'm a child, 
my parents own a summer house by the Atlantic, 
every afternoon between 5.00 and 8.001 walk on the 
sand by the green ocean, I climb up to the end of 
the jetties, watch the waves break as they turn under 
each other, not back/forth, but back/forth/under/ 
same/time/as/over/back/forth.) I decide I'll do 
anything for Crittenden. A few days after my 
acquittal I learn Crittenden's married, has 7 children. 
Crittenden convinces me to have dinner with him 
and his wife at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. 
I descend into slavery, I let a man drive his fingers 
into my brains and reform my brains as he wants. 
Crittenden follows me back to Virginia City; my 
mother kicks him out of Tahoe House, refused to let 
him see me; I buy a house in the rich part of town 
and move in with Crittenden. Crittenden invites his 
wife to stay in my house. Why do I let Crittenden 
enslave me? I'm crazy. I'm no longer interested in 
this. I remember my second husband; I shoot at my 
head with a gun. 

Stop. I go from trap to trap to trap. Crittenden's 
still promising to divorce his wife. I follow Crittenden 
to San Francisco; I have more money than I need. I 
have more than I want. 

I almost die from stillborn childbirth; I tell my 
husband I'm not going to have a kid again. I didn't 
want to marry him; I don’t want him around, ruling 
me. Fuck all of them. 

If someone bothers me, I shoot her/him. I shot that 
Union soldier on the roof, and Crittenden got me off 
the hook. Crittenden now tells me that Mrs. 
Crittenden's back East; he won't let her again into 
California. I'm his slave and believe him. I don't want 
to be a slave. I aim a five-shooter at Crittenden, fire, 
and purposely miss him. I marry this guy Snyder 
who's a weakling; in a month Crittenden arranges 
for me to get a divorce so I can return to him. He 
begins to furnish a house on Ellis Street for his wife 
who's returning from the East. (A wants to fuck E. 
A's sleeping with me he puts me to sleep in the attic 
M's fucking next door I hear A make love to E 
through the floor. I open the attic window climb 
down the roof, shimmy down a long pole, I run back 
to a school A tells me he'll decide between me and 
E; I'm better. He picks me. Next day he tells me E's 
pregnant, get out this instant.) Crittenden's going to 
get a divorce, go East with me. For the moment I'm 
content, I don't believe him, I pretend I believe him. 

I have to learn how I can co-exist with my 
tempestuous emotions. I'm mainly interested in 



130 • RAPID EYE 1 


myself. I buy a new gun: a sharp four-shooter. (After 
L at night goes to sleep he has to work the next day 
I think about killing him I imagine I walk up to the 
bed in which he's sleeping with a knife stick the 
knife through the left side of his body under his 
ribs.) On November 3 Crittenden stops at our house, 
I know it's the last time, I want to be tough; I won't 
be hysterical; I can't let the first emotions out I'm not 
his robot fuck. He could belong to me; I have to kill 
the other people he thinks he belongs to. I'll be a 
vegetable. (I let L hit me leave me broke without a 
home because I no longer want to fuck him he lives 
at the same time with a new lover his new lover 
watches him hit me makes comments about the 
scene. I let L tell me the only thing I'm good for is 
fucking, the only reason he lives with me.) I want to 
be rich and famous; no, I want to be able to talk 
with people without having them put me down. 

I put on a huge velvet cape, a hat with a thick veil, 
my holster and gun; I follow my lover carefully 
silently in a hack I secretly hired yesterday, past low 
brown and grey buildings whose empty windows 
rats hover over, past women and men walking 
arm-in-arm as if they can. (In New York, I shaved off 
my hair, wore a black bishop's coat jeans, heavy 
boots, so I'd look like a boy; if a man asked me the 
time in public. I'd kick him. I tried to meet more 
women, I couldn't figure how; everyone disliked me) 
Secretly I board the El Capitan, the opium-infested 
side-wheeler that's going to ferry my lover to his 
so-called wife. People crowd around me; they want 
to confuse me, gather me; I become lost. I don't like 
to be in a crowd of people unless I'm invisible I have 
fantasies I'm invisible or people rush over to me how 
are you darling do you want to sleep with me? The 
ferry docks; I rush through the crowd to see 
Crittenden meet his wife; bodies block me; I can't do 
what I want; I see Crittenden and Clara sitting on the 
upper deck; Clara's hands are crossed, I see a blue 
dress with tiny white flowers, gloves, why gloves; I 
think she's smiling, a stupid kid in a military uniform, 
Crittenden's smiling; I can't even escape into my own 
pretensions. I watch every moment they make. I hear 
a whistle, 5.50 p.m. the side-wheeler's about to 
return to San Francisco. I'll never see Crittenden 
again. (I don't know how to deal with someone I 
love or want to see refusing to see me, disliking me. 

I finally force myself to see that the people I love 
(some) dislike me. Even though they dislike me, I 
can't them; I keep trying to talk to them, I keep 
bothering them, make them dislike me more, me 
more entangled in fears/shyness. They show they 
hate me; I see myself sitting under the clothes in my 
closet; I don't see anyone; I wait for the whole to 
close.) I shoot Crittenden; he mutters something; I 
drop my gun, wait for the police to capture me. I'm 
hysterical start screaming louder and louder. 



All the above events are taken from myself, ENTER 
MURDERERS! by E.H. Bierstadt, MURDER FOR PROFIT by 
W. Bollitho, BLOOD IN THE PARLOUR by D. Dunbar, 
ROGUES AND ADVENTURESSES by C. Kingston. 





TAIUTRA 

An Introduction 


Sahajanath 


"Soft sandal mountain winds caress quivering vines of clove. 
Forest huts hum with droning bees and crying cuckoos. 

When spring's mood is rich, 
Hari roams here to dance with young women, friend - 

A cruel time for deserted lovers." 
—Jayadeva, Gitagovinda 

People tend to think that Tantra is about something 3. Example of Tantric meditation. 
dirty or rude, although this attitude says more about 

them than anything else. (Lokanath's first words to 1. Tantra is a very broad tradition and includes all of 

me were that the ignorant think that Tantra is about the things that we would describe as 'magic' - these 

fucking.) The word 'Tantra' is as mysterious and include sorcery, divination, alchemy and the quest 

obscure as many other of the terms bandied about for higher knowledge. Tantra is sometimes called the 

in pagan circles. In this sense it is rather like the old way of the Wand or thunderbolt ( vajra ) because, 

chestnut 'Kabalah' or even 'magic'. Very commonly unlike many other spiritual systems, its practitioners 

used, but with very general and therefore vague expect to become masters and to achieve liberation 

meanings. It is a Sanskrit word that roughly within the course of one lifetime. Those of you 

translates as 'tradition' or 'line' which is again very familiar with the Kabalistic tradition will recognise 

similar to the translation of the hebrew term The the parallel here with the Kabalistic concept of the 

Kabalah. Although this is its literal translation, the Lightning Flash of inspiration striking downwards 

term 'Tantra' has come to be applied to some very from the crest of the Tree of Life, through each of 

specific practices and techniques and it is these that the spheres and into the earth/magician. A better 

I intend to discuss in this article. My plan is as name for the follower of the Tantric tradition is a 

follows: 'Kaula', meaning member of the clan; a word very 

similar in meaning to 'coven'. Alternatively Tantrics 
7. General definition of Tantra. can be called Naths or Nathas, meaning Lords. 

2. Review of its influence and similarities with The magical weapon of the Kaula is the 'vajra' or 
western occultism. wand and this is adopted because the Kaula will USE 



132 • RAPID EYE 1 


any and every EXPERIENCE and bend it towards the 
chosen goal. This is in marked contrast to other 
systems whose practitioners are inhibited and 
therefore unable to make full use of the whole of 
their human experience. For example, the inhibited 
can find no spiritual value in their own sexuality. The 
Kaulas are noted for their lack of inhibitions in this 
area - hence the notoriety Tantricism has achieved in 
the mind of the uninformed. In fact many Tantric 
practices are INTENDED TO DECONDITION its 
members from the inhibitions built up by the 
indoctrination of other religious and social systems. 
We are sometimes told that the body, especially the 
sexual parts of the body, are defiled and unspiritual, 
but to the Kaula there is no holier temple than the 
body “with its five elements, ten gateways, solar and 
lunar energy". 

This revolutionary character of Tantric magic is 
best illustrated by a look at a special ritual. A major 
part of a Tantric ritual is anti-social in character. Its 
aim was - and is in some contexts - to negate the 
accepted mores of the majority. In the modern 
context it is rather like Crowley's injunction that one 
should “Crucify a toad in a basilisk abode". Or more 
recently Ray Sherwin's comment that every aspiring 
magician should perform a black mass at least once. 

There are said to be five essential components of 
any Tantric rituals, the so-called 5 M's: These are: 
Meat, Fish, Alcohol, Parched Grain and Sexual 
Intercourse. 

I should point out that these are 'twilight' words, 
or codewords used to disguise the true content of 
rituals. 

Meat is eaten in order to deliberately antagonise 
the puritanical brahmins who place an absurd 
premium on vegetarianism. Meat is also a symbolic 
reference to the presence of men within the circle. 

Fish again is something of a wind-up designed to 
symbolically decondition the Kaula. It may also refer 
to the presence of women within the circle. (One of 
the great gurus of the Natha tradition is named 
'Matsyendranath' after the fish in whose belly he 
discovered a great tantra. Such a humble name also 
suggests a rejection of all notions of social class.) 

Alcohol again is a substance prohibited by many of 
the world's religions; we can extend this 
conceptually to mean any form of intoxication or use 
of strange drugs. To be intoxicated during a ritual is 
something unthinkable to many of the world's so- 
called great religions. 

Sexual Intercourse is the acid test of the real 
tantric or, dare I say it, any magician in whatever 
tradition. The acknowledgement of the sexual 
polarity and its spiritual significance is what magic is 
all about. 

Parched Grain sounds a bit tame, but this is a 
code-word for retention or delay of orgasm. 
Something that is extremely important in the higher 
rituals of the Kaula circle. 

The above should not really be taken as typical of 
a Tantric ritual any more than the so-called 'Great 
Rite' (during which the priest and priestess are said 



to consummate an act of sexual intercourse within a 
coven circle) is typical of the rites of witchcraft. What 
is important is the continued breaking of taboos, 
which undoubtedly still plays an important role in 
the magical work of several traditions, east and west. 
More typically, Kaula rituals can be divided into two 
distinct areas. A daily rite performed alone or in the 
company of another Kaula; and a group or circle 
ritual or 'cakra-puja', performed with other members 
of the sect. The mention of the word 'cakra' may 
ring a bell with some of you, especially in connection 
with the seven cakras of the astral body. This theory 
of the cakras, now a commonplace idea amongst 
western occultist and Indo-philes, is a wholly Tantric 
theory, and plays a major role in tantric ritual. 

The Seven Cakras are: 

1. Muladhara: Base of spine 
Earth • Yellow 

(Root Cakra) 

2. Svadisthana: Base of genitals 
Water • Dark blue/grey 
(crescent surrounded by red petals) 

3. Manipura: Navel 
Fire • Red 

(triangle with grey petals) 

4. Anahata: Heart 
Air • Smokey blue 
(hexagram with 12 petals) 

5. Vishudda: Throat 
Ether/Sound • White 
(circle) 

6. Ajna: Third Eye 

7. Sahasrara : Brain 




TANTRA • 133 


24-^1 & Y' 15 —-^ 



[See Aleister Crowley’s poem “There are seven keys 
to the great gate, being eight in one, and one in 
eight."] 

The daily ritual of the Kaulas involves a basic 
dedication to the God and Goddess (Siva/Sakti) which 
are invoked from inside the body of the celebrant. 
This is a good illustration of the positive attitude 
Kaulas have towards their own bodies. The Gods and 
Goddesses are not archetypes that dwell outside of 
the human life-wave, but something that can be 
found in all parts of the human body, even in the 
penis of the man and the yoni of the woman. In fact 
it might be said that the purest archetype of the God 
and Goddess is situated in these places. This 
constitutes something of a conceptual breakthrough 
for many people, who, due to their conditioning, 
find it almost impossible to visualise a God or 
Goddess as resident in what they have been taught 
to consider as the lowest parts of their body. But as 
it says in the New Testament "The first shall be last, 
and the last shall be first." 

The Group rituals are often amplifications of the 
practices described under the individual rite. Any 
magician would feel fairly at home in a Kaula circle, 
with its banishings, invocations and'visualisations. 
Some of the similarities will be described below. 

I became a 'Nath' about six months ago. I’d been 
involved in magic for several years beforehand and 
always leant towards the Tantric path partly 
influenced through the ideas of Aleister Crowley, the 
greatest occult teacher of our time, and also through 
the interpretation of Crowley's ideas as found in the 
works of Kenneth Grant, especially in 'Aleister 
Crowley And The Hidden God'. One of the first 
Occult magazines I ever bought was called Sothis 
and I was particularly struck by the articles written 


by Mike Magee, one of that magazine's editors. 
When I met him several years later I became 
increasingly interested in the tantric sect, of which 
he was head outside of India. The Guru of the Order, 
called AMOOKOS (Arcane and Mystical Order of the 
Knights of Shambala) is 'Dadaji', a one-time pupil of 
Aleister Crowley in the '30s, who was once advised 
by Crowley to seek enlightenment in India. After a 
few years fighting the Spanish Fascists, Dadaji made 
it to India, becoming a sanyasi and eventually 
receiving the line of an ancient and obscure tantric 
sect called the Naths. It was into this sect that I was 
initiated. 

Some of the above material may have struck a chord 
with some of your own views and beliefs. This is no 
accident - Tantra is in fact a very pure pagan 
tradition, and many of its central concepts have 
found their way into the western tradition of magic, 
either within the last hundred years or as part of the 
original and ancient influx of pagan ideas into the 
west via the Egyptian and other teachers. Some of 
the parallels are quite striking; in addition to the 
ones already noted are: 

Digambari: 

This is one of the thousand names of the Goddess 
and means ‘clothed in space'. This is the origin of the 
modern day Wiccan expression 'skyclad'. The 
initiation into the Kaula circle has to be a naked 
initiation during which the candidate affirms 
“Nakedness shall be my symbol of freedom, a symbol 
of my new birth into the Magick life. It is the highest 
expression of freedom. “ 

During a formal meeting of the Kaula sect, clothes 
may or may not be worn, depending upon the will 
of the participants and the nature of the work in 
hand. 

The Goddess: 

A striking similarity between the ideas of the Kaulas 
and those of modern paganism is the fact that the 
Goddess plays an equal role in the pantheon. There 
is a legend in which the Goddess Sakti is 
dismembered in a struggle with a powerful demon, 
when the various parts of her body fell from the air, 
landing on various parts of India. The yoni of the 
Goddess was said to have landed on Kamarupa, 
which takes its name from this 'event' and is even 
today one of the focal points of Kaula devotion. This 
legend is a female equivalent to the Ancient 
Egyptian myth of the murder of Osiris by his brother 
Set. Osiris was cut into 14 parts and scattered all over 
Egypt. His wife/mother, Isis, searched for the parts, 
doing devotion at each of the temples at the 
appropriate times. The last part to be found was the 
phallus. In both of these legends is hidden a magical 
formula of great value to those with the inclination 
to follow it up. Whilst on the subject of the 
feminine, it should be said that devotion to the 
Goddess is not a guarantee of a raised status for 
women. It is my view that a third archetype, over 





134 • RAPID EYE 1 


and above either God or Goddess is required. This 
archetype is the child or, as it is called by the Nathas, 
Siva/Sakti. 

Circle Worship: 

All Tantric rites take place within the duly 
consecrated confines of a circle, or as it is called in 
Sanskrit, the Cakra. The names may be unfamiliar 
but the concepts shouldn't be. The circle is cast in 
much the same way as in the west, with the calling 
up of four guardians of the directions, or cardinal 
points, invocation of the God (Siva) and Goddess 
(Sakti). 

The Five Elements: 

No rite of the Kaulas is complete without the 
presence of the five things or elements, there to 
remind the magician of the physical plane on which 
the effects of the work is manifest. Out of the five 
elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit any 
phenomenon can be manifested. 

Yantra: 

If you are wondering how there came to be this 
overlap between the ideas of the Kaulas and those 
of modern paganism, one partial explanation is that 
they were introduced into the West around about 
the turn of the century by such groups as The 
Theosophical Society and later on, the Hermetic 
Order of the Golden Dawn. One striking example of 
this is found in the area of colour theory and 
mystical diagrams. Consider, for example, the crucial 
Yantra (diagram) to the Kaulas, known as the Sri 
Yantra, sacred to the Goddess Sri or the Full Moon 
Goddess of the Tantrics. The four doorways represent 
the four directions/elements, the twelve petals the 
signs of the Zodiac, the eight inner petals the 
planets, the downward facing triangles the female, 
the upward facing triangles the male, and the dot or 
bindu in the centre, male and female co-joined, or 
Siva/Sakti. 

Note now the similarity with the key symbol of the 
Golden Dawn, worn on the breast of every member 
at Order meetings - The Rose Cross Lamen. 

Wax Image Spells: 

There is a parallel between Western Paganism and 
Tantrika at a deeper, more ancient level, which is 
illustrated by the use by both systems of the wax 
image spell. Most of the surviving examples in the 
West, for instance in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, 
of these wax dolls, show quite clearly that their 
purpose was to harm an enemy. I make no 
judgement on this, for who can say whether it may 
not be necessary to use such methods at certain 
times? A label of a similar exhibit in the Witchcraft 
Museum in Boscastle puts it more strongly: “Before 
the nineteenth century the working classes of this 
country were virtual serfs. The judges, landowners 
and clerics were a law unto themselves. If someone 
was harmed by them, there was very little chance of 
just redress of a grievance. The only recourse might 


then be to a witch and the wax image spell. And if 
some hunter or rapist or land encloser broke his 
stupid red neck whilst out hunting, good riddance!" 
Or words to that effect. 

A final word on the great affinity between the ethos 
of the Naths and the Thelemic idea, promulgated by 
Aleister Crowley. There is a direct translation into 
Sanskrit of the term 'Thelema'. It is 'Svacchandacara', 
and in both instances the meaning is: FREEDOM! 


ECSTATIC KRISNA 

"Yadava hero, your hand is cooler than sandalbalm 
on my breast; 

Paint a leaf design with deer musk here on Love’s 
ritual vessel! 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

Lover, draw kohl glossier than a swarm of black bees 
on my eyes! 

Your lips kissed away the lampblack bow that shoots 
arrows of Love. 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

My ears reflect the restless gleam of doe eyes, 
graceful Lord, 

Hang earrings on their magic circles to form snares 
for love. 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

Pin back the teasing lock of hair on my smooth lotus 
face! 

It fell before me to mine a gleaming line of black 
bees. 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

Make a mark of liquid deer musk on my moonlit 
brow! 

Make a moon shadow, Krisna! The sweat drops are 
dried. 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

Fix flowers in shining hair loosened by loveplay, 
Krisna! 

Make a flywhisk outshining peacock plumage to be 
the banner of love. 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart. 

My beautiful loins are a deep cavern to take the 
thrusts of love - 

Cover them with jewelled girdles, cloths and 
ornaments, Krisna! 

She told the joyful Yadu hero, playing to delight her 
heart." 

—Jayadeva's Gitagovinda 
translated as ’The Love Song Of The Dark Lord' 
by Barbara Stoler Miller. 




THROUGH A SCREEN, DARKLY 


Derek Jarman - painter, film-maker and theatre set 
designer, held his first one-man show at the Lisson 
Gallery in 1969. He designed sets and costumes for 
the theatre ( Jazz Calendar with Frederick Ashton and 
Rudolf Nureyev at Covent Garden, Don Giovanni at 
the Coliseum, and Mouth Of The Night with Micha 
Bergese). He was production designer for Ken 
Russell's films The Devils and Savage Messiah, during 
which time he worked on his own films in Super 8, 
which became underground classics, such as In The 
Shadow Of The Sun. He went on to make feature 
films: Sebastiane, Jubilee, The Tempest, Angelic 
Conversation, Caravaggio, Imagining October, War 
Requiem, The Last Of England, The Garden, Edward 
II, Wittgenstein, and Blue, working with a variety of 
actors from Sir Lawrence Olivier to Adam Ant. His 
autobiographical books include At Your Own Risk, 
Caravaggio, Dancing Ledge, and Modern Nature. He 
has returned to painting (shows at the Royal 
Academy and the ICA) and design (The Rake's 
Progress in Florence), and made a number of pop 
videos, including promos for The Smiths, Pet Shop 
Boys, and Marianne Faithfull. His video for REM's 
Losing My Religion, won an MTV award for best pop 
video of 1991. He 'came out’ while at art school in 
the company of David Hockney and Patrick Proctor, 
and had affairs with Robert Mapplethorpe and the 
serial murderer Michele Lupo. Canonized as Saint 
Derek by the activist queer group The Sisters of 
Perpetual Indulgence, Jarman became a prominent 


The Derek Jarman Interview 



Simon Dwyer 


media figure in the political and social battles 
against homophobia and AIDS. He was diagnosed 
HIV+ in 1986. He lived in a small flat in central 
London and a wooden fisherman's cottage on the 
beach near the nuclear power station at Dungeness, 
Kent. Gay martyr to some, transgressive art hero to 
others, he spoke to Rapid Eye in 1985. 

"/ have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou 
not, fatal vision, sensible. To feeling as to sight?" 

On the inner levels of philosophy, literature, 
theology and metaphysics, certain masters developed 
impressive esoteric ideas, founding new schools of 
thought through their synthesis of ancient teachings. 
The most famous of these was Jabir el-Hajyan, better 
known in the West as "Geber". It was from his name 
and the apparent unintelligibility of alchemical 
writings in general that the derisory descriptive noun 
"gibberish" derived... 

Walking up the demolition site of Charing Cross 
Road in the morning sunshine, the rolled-down 
windows of the immobile metal snake that stretches 
up to Centrepoint gives an aural cut-up of the state 
of the world. Passing from big BMW to tiny Toyota 
is like listening to the post-intellectual hip-hop of 
Cabaret Voltaire. LBC, BBC, Capital, bulletins of IRA 
action spliced with S-Express, Terence Trent D'Arby, 
and The Eurythmics - Annie Lennox talking to the 
Angels... "Da da do da-da dahn da da dahh 



136 • RAPID EYE 1 


dahhh..." Some people would understand. 

Derek Jarman sits on a stool in his lovely little 
room, surrounded by his labyrinth of "gibberish", 
surrounded, quite literally, by himself-one hand on 
the back of his head, the other resting at the base of 
his spine, body rocking awkwardly as if he's waiting 
for the tooth-puller. Behind him stretches a long 
window, in front of it a large writing desk, empty 
but for a full appointment book. A double bed is 
headed by a big home-made bookcase, a maze 
stuffed with hundreds of titles; Psychology; 
Biographies; Art; Occultism. It all figures. A classic 
plastercast head of Mausolos looks on from the 
corner - saved in the '60s from the Slade just before 
it was to be smashed to make way for the flood of 
modernist American giganticism. The white walls are 
darkened by a symmetrical arrangement of Jarman's 
own beautiful miniatures - ghostly gold figures and 
skulls, naked silver shadows and scribbled 
hieroglyphics caked with thick black paint, all set in 
heavy frames and deep glass. A cylindrical witch's 
mirror, as used in medieval laser shows, dangles by 
a thread from the ceiling, giving a convex impression 
of the streetlife below. Jarman knows the art of 
mirrors. 

In a climate of seamy social realism, 'adult' films 
are packed with Content (the stuff of broken 
marriages), obsessed with kitchen sink narrative and 
dazzled by American Actor's Workshop graduates 
who put on accents, weight and stubble for the 
making of a Picture. (It's always a "Picture". Not a 
Movie, never a Film, and never, ever a Dream.) All of 
which leaves little room, or backing, for the 
unfocused visual cinema of Derek Jarman. 

As an individual media figure his own stature has 
increased enormously in the last couple of years. But 
often he is in demand not because of what he does, 
but because of what he says. A man who puts his art 
into his life, rather than his work. 

Uncompromising, fiercely independent, Jarman is 
still more distanced from the British Film 
establishment than any other major director, as his 
is still seen as 'serious', 'arty' cinema that they wish 
neither to encourage nor understand. But he remains 
unconcerned about being understood, using as he 
does the unpopular language of the artist, the 
language of the angels, without regret. 

I'd met him before on brief occasions when he'd 
often seemed polite but preoccupied. Preoccupied 
with his work which, in such a personal artist such 
an honest autobiographer, was a preoccupation with 
himself. When Jarman is working, he is often gliding 
around in a tizz and he seems to float half an inch 
above the ground, untouchable but untouching - 
ignoring everything, and everyone, around him. 
Reminiscent of the Queen Mary leaving harbour, at 
such moments it is advisable to give the man a wide 
berth. 

As the creator of such a powerful body of work he 
has always remained something of an enigma behind 
this self-assured front. Seemingly aloof not only to 
the demands of the Film World, but also the needs 


of his audience. 

Flippant and occasionally bitchy, but thankfully 
never apologetic, as so many less determined artists 
are. In a society so hostile to its Art World and 
cynical of the gay mafia that operates within it, it 
would be easy to harbour doubts about him. One 
could picture Derek as a boy, sensitive, frightfully 
middle class and fresh from the closet of public 
school, standing in front of that distorting witch's 
mirror engrossed in his cleverness and beauty. Like 
Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, like the 
clone boys standing in uniformed rows in the 
full-frontal mirrored toilets at Heaven - so heady 
with the nitrate that they believe what they see in 
the mirror, as if it had their own mind, as if it 
couldn't lie. It was always possible that Jarman had 
latched on to anti-fashion, olde worlde imagery and 
mild eccentricity just as the clones had pieced 
together their own acceptable identity. In cultivating 
his own image and believing his own publicity, 
distancing himself further and further from the 
Art/Cinema establishments that don't always think 
too highly of him anyway, and while doing so 
making no explanations for self exploration and 
possible self love, one could easily wonder if Jarman 
were merely subsidising his lifestyle; still living 
through a massive hangover from the Andrew Logan 
party that was the '60s and at which Jarman was, in 
his own words, "an extra". 

Was he gratifying himself, existing only for 
himself, was he (let's face it) a wanker? Why should 
anybody wish to eavesdrop on this man's private 
visions, decode his mystical signals, when we can 
gulp up pop culture in the sanitised columns of IPC? 
Boy George and his ilk, being a so much less bitter 
pill to swallow as cultural crusaders for we modern, 
liberal people. George, the type of harmless eccentric 
the English convince themselves they love, was at 
least free from all that artistic solipsism. And 
probably a far truer, more apparently 'real' reflection 
of the 1980s than anything found in Jarman's 
mottled mirror. 

But the fact is, however confused or romanticised 
Jarman's vision may sometimes appear, there is 
sitting before us a pearl in the shit of 'experimental' 
film-making. Derek is erudite, funny, and completely 
charming, but the reason this man is so engaging, so 
fascinating in his pretention - the reason he gets 
away with sometimes acting like the Queen Mary - 
is that out of the shadows of his films there is a 
human face. As in all 'worthwhile' art, be it film, 
music, literature, comedy or whatever, when the 
mask is removed that face is (often uncomfortably) 
like your own. In Jarman's films, the whole being 
greater than the total parts, your senses are honed 
to perceive "the face of the soul". Not the fat face 
of America. Not the face the TV would like us to 
have, the face we show the world in Brideshead or 
Brookside. In Jarman's films, real people are allowed 
to exist. Real, weird people shimmer silently across 
the screen in his vaguely allegorical, image-based, 
mood drenched stories where the traps of time and 



DEREK JARMAN • 137 


place are cross-referenced and transgressed, and 
where 'meaning' is supplied by the viewer. The 
dreamer. As naturally follows in a world that lives 
through its media, real people are therefore more 
able to live life the way they wish. People are 
allowed to leave Brookside. Bad actors in the scripts 
given to them by Lorimar and Granada, they are 
instead able to confront their wildest dreams and 
live because they see themselves on the screen. 

Such escapist philanthropy may, in Jarman's eyes, 
be merely a by-product of his own wish to exist. He 
just holds his mirror up to 'Reality' or 'Control', like 
Boy George does. But in Jarman's mirror, instead of 
a confirmation. Control sees its 'reality' distorted, 
made, in Jarman's eyes, more 'real'. Such an image 
may not be part of the Grand Plan, which may 
explain why Derek Jarman remained until 1986 the 
only British film maker to have made three feature 
films and not have had any of his work shown on TV 
- the IBA banning the original planned Channel 4 
screenings in the same stroke as they nixed 
transmission of Ron Peck's Nighthawks (in which, 
coincidentally, Jarman played a small role). 

It is, though, always self-defeating to over- 
intellectualise about anything as vague and 
subjective as Art, even with the aim of trying to 
decipher and disperse it, so that pieces, fallen 
neglected like Jarman from the high tables of 
Melvyn Bragg and Time Out be better appreciated - 
or at least disliked for more sensible reasons. 
Perhaps, then, not bucking for a job on The Late 
Show, we should just say that in case you have never 
seen his work, it is only Jarman who could make such 
superficially boring cinema so seductive, and listen to 
his own words echoing from the Sanyo... 

Talking of the British Film Institute funding of his 
long-awaited, much acclaimed, Caravaggio epic, of 
his enduring associations with Genesis P-Orridge and 
Coil (from In The Shadow Of The Sun to Mouth Of 
The Night), of artistic control over the huge 
production of anything as heavyweight as a modern 
feature film, of Money... 

“The money needed in film is enormous. The money 
needed in other areas, to put out a tape of music for 
example, is peanuts by comparison. “ 

RE: Do you envy people who work in other areas 
then? Would you like to be free as the musicians you 
use in your work, for instance, like your pals at PTV? 
“Oh, I'm MUCH freer than Gen! Because I don’t have 
any theories to hinder my development. He's going 
to love that isn't he!?“ 

RE: I'm surprised you have that approach. Gen, for 
instance, always has very good reasons for doing 
anything- 

“Oh, I have my reasons.“ 

RE: Alright. What was your reason for making 
Caravaggio, then? 

"Umm... what an appalling question! I don't know." 
RE: Well, it's just that, talking of Gen, he always 
knows exactly, he always analyses everything he does 
y'know. 



"Yes, I do too. It's just that I've got to such a state of 
self-analysis that people can’t understand the 
language I'm talking in, so it actually becomes 
impossible. You see. I'm working in a sort of way 
which, in my own mind, is not very easily 
communicated. Do you know what I mean ?" [I'm not 
sure if I do ] 

RE: ...Feelings? 

"Yes, feelings and things like that. So I really can't 
say it's theoretical. Personally I can't see the point in 
communication at all any longer. “ 

RE: Why not? Because it's all been said, or people 
have nothing to say? 

"Well, because I don’t think it's necessary to say it. 
My feeling is that all of this is centred around people 
sending messages to other people. I suppose one 
sends messages to people who're already inclined to 
actually receive one's messages. One doesn't make 
many converts. My feeling is I'm a bad audience. I 
dislike audiences. No one should go and see 
anything, they should go and do it for themselves. 
Therefore this precludes even a situation like Gen's, 
theoretically. On the other hand in an imperfect 
world in which I've got to live I've to make a film. 




138 - RAPID EYE 1 


So... I'm doing it for the money!" 

RE: Yes of course, but now you're being flippant, 
you don't only think of that at all. 

He doesn't, in 'theory'. But the fact is that in this 
imperfect world Derek Jarman is almost a bankrupt, 
and the bigger films, such as Caravaggio and The 
Garden should, if not make him rich, at least wipe 
out his massive debts. And the important idea is 
encapsulated there - in a perfect world we'd not 
only need to devote most of our energies towards 
survival, but there would also be no need for us to 
be culture vultures, picking over the brains of usually 
very dull musicians, film makers, fashion designers, 
painters and novelists for interpretations of Life. 
We'd all be too busy finding our own interpretations 
ourselves. The ethics behind the bedroom-bound 
cassette makers he refers to, similar to the 
motivations that started Rapid Eye in the late 70s, 
would be close to Jarman's heart. In theory at least 
the whole Ladbroke Grove 'alternative' activity was 
not only about producing something for oneself, but 
about doing it while being uncorrupted by the needs 
of the audience. This is something the likes of the 
Record Industry and Music Press could never 
collectively admit to understand. In the acceptable 
areas of culture (anything prefixed by 'Youth'), chart 
placings and ratings are what count. Jarman knows 
only too well. The audience is everything. 

"Audiences have always been dangerous. They can 
get enormous." 

Hardly pop culture material, Jarman gets his mouth 
around the word 'enormous' as if he meant 
'monstrous'. 

"Like audiences listening to some speaker telling 
them to go and kill people. I don’t believe in 
audiences, therefore it is essentially difficult for me 
to be honest with people about communicating 
anything in art like that. I'm only communicating 
really to the converted, and quite honestly at this 
stage in my life I’m sufficiently aware of the 
structure outside to realise that in a certain sense 
you can blind yourself by believing." 

RE: So you don't even have any ideas about the 
feelings you would like people to have when leaving 
the cinema, say? 

“No I don't. Not even that. What happens is I think 
other people decide afterwards exactly what things 
are. What a thing becomes in a culture after it's 
made is very different from the intentions of the 
person making it. Also, don't believe that you can set 
up a situation and know what the outcome is going 
to be. You can say 'I'm going to do this’, but you 
end up with the other. Invariably things end up with 
their opposites... To put it in really blunt language, 
systems of Peace and Love end up as War and Hate. 
It's quite simple ." 

His mind picks up the thread. 

“Where I do agree with Gen is that while one's 
working one should encourage people to take the 
leap to work as well, because the more people 


who're doing it, the more interesting and vibrant it 
becomes ." 

RE: Why is it vibrant if nobody is communicating 
anything to anyone? 

"Because it's all to do with internal things, it's 
nothing to do with external things at all. That's what 
it comes down to. There's no such thing as the world 
outside. The only thing that's of interest is the world 
inside, and its relationship with the world outside. 
That's the attrition point, and that's what makes 
Art." 



An explanation, of sorts, for films that have nothing 
to say. Home movies made by, and for, Derek Jarman 
- a man hellbent on finding his own explanations - 
props for the physical realisation of his own reality. 
In this context, then, ironically it's Jarman who is 
being unpretentious. His usual lack of obvious 
propaganda, ideals, and messages is far less 
presumptuous on the viewer than anything one sees 
on TV, for example. Television, by its nature, will 
lump millions of people's perceptions - their 
opinions, politics, morals, memories - into one 
insipid mass, to be moulded by anyone with a big 
enough hand (such people include the likes of Mary 
Whitehouse and Douglas Hurd). As so many 
'alternatives' to this are merely equally arrogant, 
loaded and absurd reactions to the right-wing 
propaganda that dominates every TV and cinema 
screen in the country, Jarman's unfashionable 
artiness is like a breath of fresh air. If his films must 
have a socially credible quality, it is in nudging the 
voyeur into looking for such "internal explanations" 
himself. One starts by wondering what the fuck his 
films are about and, realising they need not "be 
about" anything, begins to read whatever one likes 
into them, his dream vehicles. He knows many ways 
of skinning a skull. 

The most common and base criticism of Jarman is 
that he is nothing more than a neo-romantic 
libertarian. That he's not obviously 'political' enough. 
Yet Jarman is a tacit anarchist. It doesn't take an 
enormous leap of the imagination to see throughout 



DEREK JARMAN • 139 



‘The Tempest': Prospero (Heathcote Williams) and the King of 
Naples (Peter Bull), (photo: Bridget Holm) 


his work a quite clearly defined attitude. 

Look at an exhibition of his paintings and you will 
find works such as the sardonically titled 'GBH\ a 
series of vast canvasses depicting a melting, burning 
map of Britain. “A Britain in the grip of hellfire, a 
ritual destruction of little England, the Old Country 
- by OppenheimeCs nuclear grandchildren". Jarman's 
view of modern Britain seems to be one of 
damnation. Damned for being the most class 
conscious, hypocritical, xenophobic island in the 
West. Damned for being a puppet of Washington. 
Damned for shunning painting and literature in 
preference of M.T.V. His obsession with the past - 
Jubilee cross referencing punk London with 
Elizabethan England, The Tempest raking over the 
coals of Shakespeare, Caravaggio set in the 
Renaissance and so on - is also a rejection of the 
present. Surely a quite overt 'political' statement. 
Jarman himself says: 

“I think of myself as a Green film maker. Our culture 
has always been backward looking. Shakespeare is 
backward looking. What interests me is that 
Elizabethan England is our cultural Arcadia. As 
Shakespeare is the essential pivot of our culture, it 
seemed really important to deal with it. Nearly 
everyone who works in the arts at some point 
actually pays attention to Shakespeare. The whole 
myth of Camelot, Blake, Tennyson - you can go 
through all the English artists - there's that dream of 
Arcadia. We seem to be the only European culture 
which has that dream background." Jarman's dream 
is one of the "pre-scientific world”, of John Dee's 
alchemical visions. 

"People are recovering that view again because it 
saw a world in which matter was living - that’s what 
alchemy was all about. People like the Greens are 
realising that the destruction of the Amazon jungle, 
fences across the Kalahari desert and so on show a 
scientific world which is rapacious and might be 
wrong. We might need those dreams and they might 
really be a part of us, and that’s what interests me 
about John Dee. Alchemy is about turning matter 
into gold, about dross and being. About dark dross 
being pure gold. And for pure gold don't read 


‘capitalism’, read gold in its spiritual sense - metal 
that doesn’t corrupt..." 



“If you desire to get this golden Lodestone, your prayers 
must be rightly made to God in true knowledge, contrition, 
sorrow and true humility for to know and learn the three 
different worlds... Out of the Super Celestial World doth 
spring the Light of the Spirit; from the Second Celestial 
World is derived the fountain of life and of the Soul: and 
from the third, the elemental World, cometh the Invincible, 
heavenly yet sensible fire, by which is digested and ripened 
that which is comprehensible." 

—John Dee, Of The Spirit Of Gold 

"...Maybe an audience can see something that can 
trigger off that inward exploration. That’s what it's 
all for, there’s nothing else. As for dictating or 
believing or having theories, one knows that one can 
have all those things but one knows that they’re 
really suspect. Not for oneself, but when putin other 
people's hands, because everyone misinterprets 
them. Look at the painter I’ve been dealing with, 
Caravaggio; he influenceda whole generation. Now, 
some painters actually took off his work, like 
Velasquez or Rembrandt for instance, and produced 
their own quite extraordinary work from it. Others 
just took all explorations of Caravaggio and turned 
them into convention." 

And so, while British Film Year fades into memory, 
as slickly shot message movies attract the money and 
consequently the publicity that ensures our images 
of ourselves remain constant, ex-advertising men 
become influential directors and Jarman stubbornly 
continues his inward exploration... publicly. 

RE: What do you think of the British Cinema? 

"I don’t think about it at all, it doesn’t interest me. 
Nor do other British film makers particularly, except 
my friends." 

Unlike the rest of Europe, the British Cinema exists 
in little-known fragments. Never having been quite 
the same depository for American iconography as 
the U.K., the continent has been left to a larger 
extent to improvise with its Fassbinders, Pasolinis, 
Godards, Rossis and Antonionis. Names to conjure 



140 • RAPID EYE 1 



Vanessa Redgrave surveys Jarman's set designs in 
‘The Devils' (Ken Russell, 1971). 

with. Here, amid the Deadwood, the exponents are 
less lauded. 

RE: Cerith Wyn Evans? 

“Yes, I rate him. I think he’s a master. I like Terence 
Davis, I like a few of the older film makers, Michael 
Powell. Nicolas Roeg at the moment Ken Russell at 
the moment. I love old 'Carry On’ films because 
they're so ridiculous and wonderful. I like John 
Maybury's films, Sophie Williams too. So actually I do 
like a lot of films, all my friends' films! “ 

RE: You opened a Young Film Makers Festival in 
Leicester recently. What was that like? 

"Well, it was very very good. That was an object 
lesson. I said in my opening of it that it would be 
the most important thing that the British Film 
Institute would be engaged in, and it was, because 
was all people making their own Cinema. People 
outside it criticise it because it only 
goes to the other enthusiasts, but they're missing the 
point, I think, of what art is about..." 

RE: As opposed to the Film Industry. 

"That... vague and nebulous and much maligned 
word, as opposed to the commercial cinema, yes. I’ve 
made a very uncomfortable brush between the two 
which is quite an interesting area. That's an attrition 
point." 

His major 'brushes', the sweeps of Sebastiane, 
Jubilee, The Tempest, Caravaggio, War Requiem, 
Edward II and The Garden represent only a fraction 
of a film output that has spanned over twenty years. 
His smaller-scale films, which he describes as "movie 
art rather than Art Movies", slip out like an O.A.P.'s 
willy (once every few months and with nobody 
noticing). They are usually greeted with a deafening 
silence by everyone apart from Mary Whitehouse 
and her anti-sex lobbyists (who have gone on record 
as condemning Jarman for his work) and those who 
occupy the most hip and hallowed corners of the 
ICA. One could, for instance, be forgiven for not 
hearing too much about his classic short, Angelic 
Conversation, a tellingly titled film about "an avant 
garde romance" that was shot in Dorset. The 


soundtrack features music from Coil, and Jarman got 
Judi Dench to provide its voice-over monologue in 
the form of 14 of Shakespeare's sonnets. This one 
left me fairly cold, but Radio 4's resident 'alternative' 
comic, Simon Fanshawe, once told me that it was the 
only film he'd watched which had made him cry. 

Conversation had its premiere in July '85 to herald 
the opening of Pride Week, the proceeds going to 
the admirable Terence Higgins Trust. Watch out, and 
you may still find it blown-up at your local art house 
fleapit playing along side Peck's What Can I Do With 
A Male Nude?. I wonder, too, how many readers will 
have actually seen his main 1987 film, The Last Of 
England, starring Jarman's 'only woman actor', Tilda 
Swinton? It was perhaps his most overtly 'political', 
autobiographical and controversial work to date. 
Loved by some - it won 1st Prize at the 1988 Berlin 
Film Festival - it was predictably annihilated by 
reactionary critics in papers like The Sunday Times. 
Critics who actually admitted that they did not 
understand what it was about. Jarman's super. Super 
8's are often hard to find, but always worth seeking 
out. 

But why does he keep making them? Keep 
struggling to set up his projector (Jarman is no Film 
School technician) - to run these strange, slow 
flickerers to any audience larger than three people? 

“Well, I’m just not interested in giganticism. I love 
small things, small audiences, film shows for friends. 
They are really private films which have just been 
made to inspire and illustrate. They also give me a 
good sketchpad for ideas. In a sense there are 
similarities with that and the independent music that 
sprang up in the late ’70s." 

RE: But the difference was that with records being 
de-mystified people could easily do something about 
it. The money needed was peanuts, like you said. 
There also existed a ready-made outlet for those 
records that were being produced. You couldn't 
make a film independently and put it out yourself 
very easily; the structure wasn't there, still isn't. So 
how do people wanting to do that get 'round it? 
"Well, I think Gen had a bright idea with video. It is 
difficult, but, I mean, something like In The Shadow 
Of The Sun which started off in 1972, well, 
thousands of people have seen it now. And if it 
carries on being shown it'll be seen by many more 
people than saw a lot of the commercial films of 
that period." 

RE: Which show in town for a week then disappear 
forever. 

"Yes, vanish! It’ll probably be seen by more people 
than saw Exorcist 2! 

"RE: You don't worry too much about how many 
people are going to see what you do. 

"No, as long as there are six or seven people in a 
room you're away! Nearly everyone's value 
judgements are overshadowed by the cash till. It's 
quite simple, if you make a film costing 22 million 
dollars it's really just 22 million dollars' worth of 
publicity telling the world that you're the best. 




DEREK JARMAN • 141 



‘The Tempest': Miranda (Toyah Wilcox) and Ferdinand (David 
Meyer), (photo: Bridget Holm) 


You've only got to see what happened with 
something like, say. Absolute Beginners. That had 
fourteen million behind it and it cropped up in every 
single magazine. But you can make a film like 
Caravaggio which I was working on a lot longer 
than Julian (Temple) was working on that, and the 
silence is overwhelming, which I think I prefer, 
though I love the publicity as well!" 

RE: That film. In The Shadow Of The Sun seemed to 
me to have a lot to do with dreams. 

“Yes, well, it was as much to do with that as it was 
with experimenting with Super 8. In the sense that 
dreams are random and uncontrollable and often 
crop up in groups and recur, and I think that film in 
that sense is rather like a dream. But there was no 
design before that film as to how it was going to 
come out. It was just an experiment." 

RE: This was 'Flowing With The Glue' then. 

“Yes! What Heathcote says!” 

RE: Is that how you always like to work? 

"/ think so, because if one sets down plans 
beforehand they never really work, like we were 
saying. I think then that you have to let it go when 
it goes. In that film I just set up a series of images 
and they randomly did whatever they did when I 
was re-filming. And it was very random." 

RE: But however random it was you still chose what 
images to film in the first place. The quality and type 
of work still depends on the person doing it no 
matter how random the process involved in the 



‘Jubilee’: Amyl (Jordan), (photo: Jean Marc Prouveur) 


creation. 

“Yes, I’m not trying to divorce myself from it at all. 
It was me, that film was an accurate reflection of 
how I was when I made it. ’ 

RE: But you see what I'm getting at. There is a 
culture of cut-ups that have emerged since Jamie 
Reid and the current interest in Burroughs and Dada 
and everything else, and a lot of pseudo-arty types 
are using cut-ups and scratching and so on as an 
excuse to be lazy, aren't they? It's so easy because 
both the technology and the market are easily 
available. 

“Absolutely. In experimental music and a lot of 
experimental film. I think, though, that it depends 
on how much work you've done on yourself 
beforehand. If you have had discipline and worked, 
that random element can work really well." 

You may notice that Jarman, painter, film maker, 
writer and designer, often refers to music - one of 
the few things that he hasn't tried himself. He's 
scathing about the Record Industry, but at the same 
time attracted by, and attractive to, musicians. Like 
Jarman's heroes Roeg and Burroughs - who 
photograph, or get photographed with all of pop's 
preening pin-ups (the highbrow ones anyway), there 
seems a mutual fascination. Perhaps because Pop can 
disseminate ideas and create cultural climates so 
much more effectively than film or literature 
nowadays. Pop Stars are now the perfect vessels 
through which all the hopes and dreams and 




142 • RAPID EYE 1 


hare-brain ideas of the world can pass through. The 
immediately acceptable face of art or revolution or 
good old fashioned decadent eccentricity. 

Roeg worked with Jagger and Art Garfunkel, 
Burroughs with P-Orridge and 23 Skidoo, Jarman 
with Coil, Eno and Steve Ball. All three with Bowie. 
Trying to use him as his Edward Kelly substitute, 
Jarman called him "the tuning fork of the media 
humming to perfection... the mirror of ambivalence 
and monarch of the invisible threads of 
communication" and summed it all up rather neatly. 
Bowie once left a pack of cigarettes on Jarman's 
mantelpiece, which he kept like a souvenir-hunter 
until Bowie's next visit, when the Thin One noticed 
them and tore them up as a slightly embarrassed 
film-maker looked on, feeling something like a silly 
schoolgirl. For his part, Bowie had Jarman marked as 
"a Black Magician". 

RE: You were going to make Neutron with David 
Bowie once, weren't you? 

"Well, it was one of those On/Off things that never 
really gelled. It was never really on." 

RE: It was a sort of post-Apocalypse story? 

"It was, I suppose, yes. Though I've never thought of 
it in that way. It was the Apocalypse of St. John the 
Divine done in a dream state, though there were 
about six different scripts for that film. I never really 
worked it out properly. It’s quite dead at the 
moment." 

RE: You get a lot of ideas for films that never get 
made? 

"Lots, but they usually get swallowed up into the 
ones that do get made. There was nothing of 
Neutron in Caravaggio, for instance, but it'll come 
somewhere else." 

The most cursory glance at Jarman's work - his sets 
scribbled with hieroglyphs, his fascination with 
figures such as St. John the Divine, with angels and 
magi, Ariel or John Dee, gives an obvious impression; 
but Bowie was only partly correct. Jarman may be a 
magician of sorts, but he's no Kenneth Anger. An 
avid reader of the esoteric works of Dee, the 
Hermetic mnemonicist Giordano Bruno, the physician 
and mystical philosopher (Grand Master of the 
Prieur6 de Sion) Robert Fludd, and the enigmatic 
Paracelsus. Paracelsus was the central figure of Jung's 
alchemical studies and a looming figure in the 
Renaissance, who wrote in a language that was 
allegorical, mystical and symbolic. His vocabulary 
thus being complicated and obscure, coupled with 
his self-confidence and dismissal of established forms 
of medicine resulted in him being misunderstood 
and disliked by his peers. 

Paracelsus preached a form of 'alchemical' 
homeopathy that, in its own way, predicted the rise 
of antibiotics and synthetic changes in the human 
environment centuries before their arrival, and 
warned against the inevitable cancers and viral 
infections that such an 'unnatural' lifestyle would 
bring. The connections Jarman has with the old 
masters are not only aesthetic. The perennial 



Paracelsus 

philosophy shows up whenever one chips away at 
the camp, urbane veneer of Jarman's media- 
perceived image. Paracelsus, a 'natural' doctor, 
misunderstood by his peers. Derek, a 'naturalist' film 
maker, misunderstood by the media. 

If Jarman is, as Bowie says, a Black Magician, 
though, the description rests in the original meaning 
of the term. 

All alchemy originated in Egypt - "al khem" (the 
Black Land) in Arabic. To further confuse the issue, 
'Black' in Arabic speech is pronounced "fecham". 
'Wise' is pronounced "facham". The true nature of 
alchemical studies has therefore been misinterpreted. 
So Jarman is not connected with the over-emotive 
Hammer Horror branch of the Occult; in fact, in 
conversation, few people could be less diabolical. For 
"Black" then, read "Wise". 

Jarman is merely conversant in the language of the 
angels - Enochian - the unspoken language of what 
he calls the "pre-scientific approach to the physical 
world". And with his films, "the wedding of Light 
and Matter", he takes up his role as Wiseman, a 
modern-day alchemist of Fulcanelli-sized proportions. 
Substituting the pestle and mortar for their 20th 
Century equivalents in this world of magical mass 
media - film and video. 

For fear of intellectualising that which is 
instinctive, of gaining "lust of result" and losing 
potency, he's suitably vague and mysterious when 
pressed on the subject. 

"Well... hmm... It's not based on any particular fact... 
I don’t dabble in magic. I am magic!" 




DEREK JARMAN • 143 



RE: [Pressing on] Your imagery is very obviously 
influenced; would you just say, then, that it's a 
similarity of attitudes with— 

“Its a dangerous... er, its very deeply buried, I really 
don't know how to answer. I have no theories about 
it. What can I say? One can read about magic, but 
that doesn’t make one magical. I practise magic in 
films, not outside them. I've always found, umm, I 
think it's more alchemical, yes, rather than 
Crowleyite magick, although that interests me also. 
I'm interested in Cornelius Agrippa and all the 
Renaissance magicians greatly." 

RE: Because of their struggle, because their 
perception was similar to your own? 

“Yes. I'm fascinated with certain things. Well just the 
whole... I suppose I’ve always quite liked losers. And 
they all lost out, didn't they? But their time will 
come. I mean John Dee lost out in a big way, didn't 
he, he just became known as a charlatan. The most 
intelligent man in Elizabethan England, he was no 
charlatan. So there’s a sort of feeling of 
rehabilitation in my interests, because there was 
something quite extraordinary there. And I fell on 
'The Art of Memory' of Frances Yeats in the early 
'70s, and of course Jung who was involved with 
Alchemy in his later works. Then it just branched 
out." 

Currently his interest has led him to become 
infatuated with the works of archetypal psychologist 
James Hillman, dug up on forays into Foyles 
bookshop across the road. Looking at Hillman one 
can see why. He is something of a kindred spirit to 
the film maker, a clinical manifestation of the same 
soul-facing intent. The psychologist writes drily 
about'Betrayal', 'Masturbation', 'Abandonment'and 
dreams. 

"I find him fascinating. So that's the interesting 
area to me. Not so much magick and Crowley, it was 
always more to do with psychology." 

As he gestures towards a copy of Hillman's Loose 
Ends on the bookshelf, I notice next to it a volume 
on Sado-Masochism, and remember that Jarman had 
loose connections with the staging of Georges 
Batailie's Feast at the Bloomsbury Theatre, along 
with the likes of Cosey Fanni Tutti and Terence 
Sellers - otherwise known as the New York Mistress 
'Angel Stern'. 

Jarman himself was no stranger to the underworld 
of backroom bars and coded handkerchiefs. Derek 


did not used to visit Hampstead Heath only to take 
in the night air. Though he detests the Californiaised 
cloning process that 'liberation' brought ("nothing 
could bring me to want to touch a moustache!"), he 
did seem to find some solace in his anonymous 
cruising alter ego. A character that could escape the 
world of Art and the Cinema and their 
accompanying pressures. He once wrote: 
“Anonymous sex can be the sweetest and most 
transient. The imagination runs riot. Earthbound 
minds suddenly take on angelic bodies." 

Jarman, a brave man, made no attempts to keep 
things secret when he discovered that he was HIV 
antibody positive, feeling - in this current climate of 
homophobia - that it was his duty to discuss it. 

The most repugnant aspect of the swing against 
homosexuality in the public arena is, of course. 
Clause 28 of the Local Government Bill (discussed 
elsewhere in this book), which effectively banned 
schools, local councils and other organisation from 
'promoting' homosexuality. 

"The repercussions are very dangerous. You could 
potentially have a ban on Shakespeare's sonnets in 
the local library! Many of the sonnets are evidently 
addressed to a man, such as Sonnet number 20, 'for 
a woman wert thou first created...'" 

On the subject of banning teachers from talking 
about homosexuality in schools, he points out that 
this will not only make it more difficult for young 
people to come to terms with their own sexuality, 
but it will also detract from the promotion of the 
Safe Sex message. 

"We can't create a climate of fear where 
homosexuality can't be discussed... We also have to 
talk about using condoms, about safe sex and so 
on." 

The obnoxious apartheid-like Clause could mean 
that some cinemas would have to think twice about 
screening Jarman's work, art galleries of exhibiting 
David Hockney or Robert Mapplethorpe, council 
libraries of stocking books by Ginsberg, or 
Isherwood, or Mary Renault. The list is endless. 

"At least ten percent of the population is gay. If 
people were trying to say these things about blacks 
or Irish people, you would think they were insane... 
I just hope I live to see the Clause rescinded." 

What kind of a society is it that passes laws which 
officially condone the persecution of minority 
groups, at a time when their need for help, support 
and understanding is at its greatest? 

At time of writing Derek is thankfully feeling 'hale 
and hearty', and judging from a survey carried out 
by doctors in San Francisco published in early '88, he 
has about a 50/50 chance of seeing out the 1990s. 

I have nothing but admiration for the way in 
which Jarman has acted since his discovery, being 
open and honest, keeping busy and, on the surface 
at least, coping remarkably well. 

RE: Where do we go from here? 

"God, where DO we go from here..." 



144 • RAPID EYE 1 


RE: Somewhere to the lift the gloom. Italy! 

“I got beaten-up in Italy." 

Oops. 

"They were thieving primarily. I got knocked down 
by a gang who went through my pockets, they were 
really quite nasty, really kicking me. One never 
knows what to do in situations like that. I could've 
been killed, so I just let them get on with it and for 
some reason I just kept smiling at them! I just looked 
up at them in complete disbelief and wondered 
what the fuck they were up to. I remember saying 'Is 
this how you welcome people to Rome?' to them in 
Italian as I lay there with them all kicking me. It was 
crazy. Fortunately Italian shoes are not as heavy as 
british Bovver Boots; they were all wearing soft Gucci 
numbers, so it was mainly just bad bruising. They got 
away with about 50p and a bottle of Poppers!... I 
still love Italy though." 

RE: It's far more art-orientated and design conscious 
in Italy. Does the British attitude to art annoy you? 
“Well, it's deeper in the culture there. Its not 
stratified as it is here, their whole system of class is 
different, there's much more of a shared language in 
Italy... It's just, if you're Florentine you know who 
Michelangelo was no matter who you are, whereas 
you couldn't say that about people in British cities. 
In London they wouldn’t know their Turner from 
their Constable!“ 

RE: Don't you find, then, that here you're generally 
considered an eccentric arty farty type, making 
boring films? Doesn't that bother you? Surely they 
love you in Italy. 

“Yes, well, it’s a completely different attitude. They 
call me 'Maestro' in Italy. It’s like your title, it's 
position. It would be like saying you're a Doctor or 
something here, you’re accepted. 'Maestro' is 
accepted in Italy. Especially ones who’ve had their 
head kicked in!" 

RE: The attitude to art here is hostile to the point of 
artists having to be apologetic and defensive and 
coy. It's like what you said before about doing 
something for yourself, internally, rather than doing 
something for the audience, for the greater good. If 
you do that you're acceptable to society because 
you're making money and products and offering a 
service to entertain people with. The cash till you 
mentioned. 

“Yes, but Art is the only thing that matters!" 

RE: But in a country so dominated by the industrial 
Victorian attitudes to work, they don't produce 
anything tangibly useful. Unless they're "successful 
artists" that people can make money from. Because 
by nature artists must be egotistical bastards in a 
sense, and selfish to be any good, because they're 
looking internally instead of pandering to the needs 
of the audience. How would you— 

"Yes, but I am useful because I'm showing people 
how to do it for themselves. That's the most 
important thing anyone can discover. Themself. So in 
that sense art is vital and does contribute. Though 
one does have to be careful about calling oneself an 
Artist, yes. The greatest art of all would be to be 


able to sit on top of an oak tree and do nothing. 
The art of doing nothing is the greatest art of all. I 
like that. “ 

RE: I don't think I agree with that, Derek, doing 
nothing. Anyway, you never do nothing. You never 
stop working. 

“No. Well, what I mean is as you said, the West is so 
orientated towards Product, the greatest thing 
would be to be able to do nothing at all. But to 
answer your basic question which you were getting 
at with Italy... it's really, I suppose, that if I wanted 
to be accepted I'd live in Italy, but I don’t want to be 
accepted. It’s far more interesting here because it's 
abrasive. I could easily have been accepted if I'd 
wanted to at a few points in my life. “ 

One such point would have been in 1980, after his 
version of The Tempest, with Toyah as Miranda, 
Heathcote Williams as Prospero and Elizabeth 
"Stormy Weather" Welch as the Goddess romped its 
way to critical acclaim and modest profit. He could 
then have gone for the real money, got backing for 
a bigger, straighter feature, or sold himself to 
Channel 4's pre-launch alternative film project. “All 
Beaujolais Nouveau and scrubbed Scandinavian, pot 
plants in place... a channel for a slightly adventurous 
commuter." But, not surprisingly, he didn't. To be 
very cynical critics could say that he didn't have to. 
Helped by being bohemian, free and single, able to 
devote himself to his work without major 
responsibilities to others, he has been able to survive, 
barely, without having to compromise. But that 
misses the point, and is the stock excuse for all forms 
of compromise and laziness. 

First of all, nobody needs to get married, nobody 
needs to have children, nobody needs to get a 
mortgage or a car or a TV. It is simply a question of 
priorities, and Jarman has never had any of these 
things. Besides, the L.A. Hillbillies are hardly making 
multi-million dollar blockbusters to keep the bailiffs 
from the door, and many of them were once young 
British revolutionaries. 

RE: You could've capitalised and become very big. 
[He smiles broadly at this.] 

“Yes, but I am big! No, not in terms of cash but I 
know that underneath it there's an immense interest 
in that stand. Particularly among other film makers, 
because it's something I think all of us would like to 
do. Mind you, it is wearing; I don’t ever preclude the 
possibility of my selling out!" 

RE: It's been an advantage in that respect, your 
being single? 

"Yes, I don’t know what I’d do having someone 
around my neck all the time if I was married and 
with children. One can be alone a lot of the time. As 
soon as one takes on mortgages and so on one 
becomes a part of that structure and under that 
pressure." 

So instead of making a clutch of pop videos, for 
the likes of Lords of the New Church, Marianne 
Faithfull, Carmel and The Smiths, which he did for 




DEREK JARMAN • 145 


the money, Derek reckons he'd have been on the 
video treadmill for life. 

"Which would've been deadening and have left me 
with no time to get Caravaggio together or read 
James Hillman!" 

RE: Before we talk about Caravaggio, what about 
your film Imagining October? 

“Yes?" 

RE: You filmed that illegally in the USSR, prior to the 
dismantling of the Iron Curtain. 

"No. You were allowed to film with a Super 8 
camera in the Soviet Union you know." 

RE: But not in that cemetery though, or is this 
another Western myth? 

"No, it's true, they did ask me not to film the 
cemetery." 

RE: Well I thought, when watching that film, that it 
did have a very definite theory and message behind 
it. 

"Yes? You're going to pin me down now, aren't 
you?! Well, yes. It did have a message. It was an 
agitprop film in an odd sort of way." 

RE: To do with what we've been talking about. 

“It was a film to do with profit, and the influence of 
profit on communication. That was part and parcel 
of the quotations that came up. In the present 
context. Then there was an element of materialism 
with the painting being done of the soldiers, and a 
wonderful feeling of, well, sadness at the end. A 
feeling of, you know, all the ideals of the 20th 
Century have become their opposites. They’ve come 
to their real fruition." 

That, in having unswerving faith in ideals and 
arguing for their case, "the systems of Peace and 
Love become Hate and War", to use his language. A 
million miles from the October uprising, the film, just 
like the tanks in Afghanistan, underlines what 
Jarman said earlier in chilling fashion - you can blind 
yourself by believing. 

RE: Why did you go there? 

“I was invited to show The Tempest to the Film 
Union there." 

RE: Did they like it? 

"I don't think so; well, some did but they didn't get 
to open their mouth as it was all done through a 
spokesperson, and they are very adept at not quite 
getting around to the questions they don't want 
raised. There is no real individual voice in Soviet 
discussion. “ 

RE: Was their reaction to it better than the 
Americans? (One New York Times critic, in a piece 
short on style and critical content but big on venom, 
said that it was like "watching Shakespeare through 
a broken windscreen." Cute how these Americans 
are so proud of their Anglo-Saxon culture.) 

"Well..." says Derek, sidestepping a potentially 
hurtful question. "It wasn't open to an audience in 
the Soviet Union so I don't know." 

RE: You don't seem to like American culture very 
much. 

“I love America. It's just that they have such a hold 
over our lives. If I was Polish I’d feel the same way 


about metropolitan Russia. I think we’re completely 
enthralled with them. We're a dumping ground for 
all their ammunition. But my generation believed 
that everything that came from America was good, 
because the food parcels came from there. And the 
really horrid decade, the 1950s, had a ridiculous 
myopic vision about it all, and we still think in the 
same way. It was a bad time, the '50s, the decade 
that's been remembered as... a haircut. Which is all 
that it deserves! We all just wanted to go to America 
then. They had some good propaganda." 

RE: They've all done it including the British. 

"Yes, well, all the power centres have done it. If the 
USSR or China was ruling the world they'd do it. The 
Americans had to rescue Europe during the war 
otherwise the Soviets would have it." 

RE: And there'd be nobody to buy their hamburgers. 
"Yes! And there was this terrible confusion in 
thinking how nice they were to help us, and the 
terrible thing is, the confusion's still there. All over 
the culture. It's interesting, people will suspend 
judgement when they see, for instance, a film, as 
somehow in this country it's seen as 'Entertainment’ 
and it’s in everyone's interest to keep these people 
in power and just look upon it as entertainment 
because then it's of no consequence. Even in the 
more supposedly analytical journals, like City Limits 
or Time Out, they look at it as if it were just 
entertainment. They would completely suspend 
judgement as to where it came from and what and 
who the film was representing. They would just say 
that it was entertainment good or bad. They 
wouldn't say that it was made with megabucks from 
Hollywood. They should have seen it more in terms 
of corporations, as the product of American culture, 
the product of a rotten system. There were many 
refreshing things about the Soviet Union. Art is 
taken very seriously, for instance, whereas here it’s 
rendered impotent. Especially pop music, which is 
the most important form of art ever ever ever 
invented. Talk about non-communication! It's kept in 
a perpetual state of pre-adolescence, so nobody is 
allowed to grow up in it and think. It's therefore 
worthless. It's a good system of Control. It channels 
revolts that would otherwise be political; the powers 
that be connive in it. And as for 'Street Credibility' 
most of it's about as street credible as Channel 4..." 

Although most of us would probably agree with 
that, I can't really see how that by "taking art 
seriously" in the sense that the Soviets take solely 
traditional art seriously (classical ballet, opera and 
music) there is any real improvement. By denying 
people even the cultural illusion of revolution I don't 
think the Russian system is any better in this respect. 
It is, in fact less resonant. 

I don't argue with Derek as he continues his attack 
on all things Pop, and waves his hands about a bit. 
The last thing I want to talk about with Derek 
Jarman is pop music, though he seems convinced 
that anyone under the age of Cliff Richard is 
obsessed by the stuff, and keeps dragging it into 
conversation in order to knock it down and stress. 




146 • RAPID EYE 1 



‘Sebastiane’ (photo: Gerald Incandela) 


"with the perspective given by time", that anyone 
can see the innate superiority of the classics. He had 
a soft spot for Bronski Beat, though. 

"Some things are of a positive value, yes. I think 
Bronski Beat did a fantastic amount of good in their 
area, more practical good than I could ever do with 
my films. But that doesn't preclude what I'm saying 
and I'm sure if Jimmi Sommerville reads this he'd 
agree with what I'm saying. Each generation is 
coming along every five years, so it can be valuable. 
If one knows one is in that area then alright, but if 
these people make other claims for it then they're 
crazy. This isn’t just some tired old queen sitting here 
moaning; if I was seventeen I’d be listening to it.” 

I point out that many people criticised Bronski 
Beat for being crass and evangelical - not the type 
of thing one would have thought would appeal to 
the sophisticate sitting before me. 

"Well I think there was a reason for them working in 
that way. There's a social reason for it, they're 
dealing with young people who are by the system 
denied ." 

A hint of public school condescension if you ask me, 
but hardly worth worrying about. Jarman is the last 
person one could call a snob and actually what he 
says is largely true, and could apply as much to his 
own work as that of the late Bronskis, if for different 
reasons. Disinterested in communicating messages 


and pandering to the limitations of "the audience", 
he would still like to think that his work has helped 
erode prejudice without having to resort to artless 
political rhetoric. 

"/ know my film Sebastiane has had a huge effect 
when it has been shown at odd cinemas here and 
there. One hopes that Angelic Conversation will 
eventually filter through: I've also written an 
autobiography that is fairly frank by most 
standards." 

His first book, Dancing Ledge, was written in 1983 
and published a year later - an "autobiographical 
collage" compiled from notepads, appointment 
books and filmscripts - realised or imaginary - from 
his childhood spent as the son of an RAF officer to 
The Final Academy and beyond. The themes of the 
book, and his life, recur in apparently haphazard 
tracts of print. (As Ken Campbell said, it's a great 
book for picking up and reading in the toilet.) A 
constant attack on all establishment culture; Film; 
Sex; Painting; anecdotes from twenty years spent as 
a self styled artist; Renaissance rehabilitation; 
references to a quaint and slightly crooked Olde 
England of vicars and royalty, picnics, castle ruins 
and empty beaches (as loved by Michael Powell); 
Occultism; Famous friends... and Caravaggio. A figure 
that has fascinated him since his days as a student at 
the Slade, when a young Jarman hunted down 
anything that was the product of another isolated, 
homosexual, mind. Isherwood, Wilde, Genet, Sartre... 

Much has been made of Jarman's sexual 
orientation. Too much, in my view. Though perhaps 
it's not surprising. If there is a stencil under which 
every Jarman movie fits, it would be one cut from 
Derek's lucid sexual imagination. The problem is, 
although Jarman's candour may help in the gradual 
erosion of homophobia, there is a danger that his 
presentations may just be labelled as being "gay" 
films, the deifying products of a queer martyr that 
have nothing to say to people outside of the 
embattled gay circle. 

In wider terms, the relative liberalisation of male 
homosexuality over the past 20 years has led to the 
creation of a cultural ghetto. The re-definition of the 
word "gay" brought with it not only a greater (and 
necessary) freedom, it also identified and defined a 
certain kind of life within specifically defined 
boundaries. So gay people are not only still looked 
upon as being 'different' because they enjoy slightly 
different sexual relationships, but also because they 
live a largely different lifestyle - a life style created 
by the gay and straight media. In some ways, gay 
people became more isolated in their liberalisation, 
with their own clubs, their own music, their own 
clothes, literature. Cinema, and (supposedly) their 
own shared ideologies. In my mind, integration and 
synthesis are the ways forward. A ghetto is a ghetto 
from both the outside and the inside. In the future, 
everyone will be bisexual. An individual's sexual 
habits will not define their social position. 

Realising that a yawning (and unnecessary) chasm 
exists between "gay" and "straight" society, Jarman 


DEREK JARMAN • 147 


has often been concerned with trying to bridge the 
gap. Not by making more 'ordinary' films about 
suburban heterosexual couples, but by making such 
things as openly homo-erotic films be accepted as 
being ordinary. Which of course they are. 

Jarman hacks away at the parameters which 
society has set down in a variety of ways. Visually, 
many of his actors are androgynous, and attractive 
to either sex. Tradition is, if not trampled, at least 
confused in Derek's shadowy world. Even the word 
"gay" is being eradicated from his scrapbook of 
press cuttings. 

“I did a book with The Last Of England in the 
form of a series of interviews, and of course the 
word 'gay' came up a lot. Eventually, we decided to 
take the word completely out of the book to see 
what happened. It was on computer so I just pressed 
a button and said search the word 'gay" and 
obliterate. So a question like 'What was gay life like 
in the '60s?' became 'What was life like in the '60s?' 
and the answer was the same, only it was no longer 
ghettoised by the question." 

Caravaggio, then, is transformed at the tap of a 
computer console from being a Gay Movie into 
being a film about a Renaissance painter. 

The cast was headed by Nigel Perry, playing the 
title role, and Tilda Swinton as Lena. Other notables 
in the film were the Comic Strip's Robbie Coltrane as 
Borghese and a Jarman favourite, the blind actor 
Jack Birkett, playing the part of the "Satire Pope". 
The old punksters among you will also remember the 
name of ex-Chelsea lead singer and one-time 
beefcake model Gene October (who's been turning 
up in bit parts all over TV land and once appeared in 
a 1978 magazine edition of this very publication in 
a piece written by Alan Anger). Gene's thespian skills 
are put to the test in the role as a street hustler 
peeling a piece of fruit. To coincide with the film's 
release, Thames & Hudson published a Jarman book 
about the making of the film, with breathtaking 
photos by his old pal, the brilliant photographer 
Gerald Incandela. 

Caravaggio - "the inventor of cinematic light" - 
was an Italian painter who lived between 1572 and 
1610. After a history of violence, on the 29th May 
1606, he murdered one Ranuccio Tomassoni while 
playing a ballgame in Rome. For the last four years 
of his life he went on the run, with the help of rich 
relatives, friends and admirers, through Malta, Sicily 
and Italy, taking commissions from town to town 
and producing probably better work than that which 
he'd done before the murder. Reports of how he 
met his death conflict, but most evidence now points 
towards him having died on the 18th July 1610 on 
the beach at Porto Ercole, collapsing while running 
along the waterfront - aged 39. Ironically, he was 
probably just about to be pardoned for the murder 
and be able to return to his beloved Rome. You can 
read such information in any book on the 
Renaissance painters; though few will tell you of the 
man's private life. 



‘Caravaggio’ (photo: Gerald Incandela) 


"He was obviously a gay artist though there's 
obviously no proof as there was no real 
documentation. Though it does appear that he was 
drummed out of Syracuse for molesting young men. 
It's generally accepted now that he was gay." 

RE: He interests you partly because of that? 

“Partly, yes, because of the fact that with that 
difficult nature, unacceptable at the time, he came 
up with all sorts of solutions in his work which were 
very radical... He was the first Italian painter, for 
example, to use ordinary people in his paintings, 
probably his friends, and paint them as the Virgin 
Mary for instance in one of his altarpieces. He was 
an innovator. ” 

Jarman's main reason for making the film was not 
because Caravaggio was homosexual, but because his 
life is a study of being an artist, as relevant now as 
it was 400 years ago. 

“Everything we’ve talked about today would be 
applicable to Caravaggio. You’ve just got to translate 
Church patronage for TV Companies and Caravaggio 
for Roman Polanski, say. It's just imaging a culture. 
It's all to do with images. How they're read and how 
they’re received by people, and how to achieve that 
sort of communication, in order to become 
'successful', you have to make a pact with the 
powers that be. “ 

RE: And that's still the case now. 

"Precisely. It's always been the case. Completely now. 




148 • RAPID EYE 1 



‘Caravaggio’ 

(photo: Gerald Incandela) 


So it's possible to make a case for someone like, for 
instance, Alan Parker, who in a much clearer way is 
utilising the powers that be. That's advertising. Or 
Warhol who did it very well with his painting in the 
1960s. You can make a case for that kind of 
representative art of the age if you want to, for 
success in those terms rather than staying outside of 
the mainstream. Caravaggio was very much the 
mainstream, he was very successful. Personally I think 
that being outside, being a stand against is a more 
interesting area to be in, and that’s the ambivalence 
that interests me... Some people are part of a culture 
and some people commentators on it." 

RE: Even though everyone's a result of the same 
culture. 

“Yes, one person is the Action and another is the 


Reaction. Caravaggio was the Action, one of the 
most successful painters of his time, and that's what 
interests me, how someone who is a killer is 
immediately welcomed into the next cathedral in the 
next town to paint the next altarpiece. He had to 
get out of Rome as he was too much of a problem 
for the authorities, but in the town down the road 
he was welcomed with open arms. It would be as if 
I killed someone and carried on working, like 'Please 
make another video, Mr Caravaggio!’... he died of 
neglect in the end, like a pop star, lived too fast." 
RE: Talking of which, did you take drugs? 

"Who didn't? In the '60s everyone went through the 
stage of taking drugs, one wasn't even aware of it 
being damaging or not, it was irrelevant. Drugs were 
just part and parcel of the moment." 



DEREK JARMAN • 149 


RE: I thought you might have been an Aldous Huxley 
type, taking drugs for your own 'internal 
exploration', quite deliberately. 

"Well, his Doors Of Perception was why people took 
drugs. Most of the interesting artists took drugs. I 
mean, Coleridge, de Quincy, Cocteau... Burroughs. 
Lots. If you include excessive alcohol then just about 
everyone of them; look at Dylan Thomas." 

One is left wondering if Jarman took drugs to more 
properly fulfil his '60s poloneck, to stick to the classic 
wasted image of an artist, living as he did at the 
time in his draughty loft overlooking the Thames at 
Wapping before Dockland became infested with red 
Porches and sunken wine bars. Despite his shoestring 
(or, at least, Shoebox) existence, his Smirnoff tipples 
and his past dalliances in the backrooms of Europe, 
Derek seems somehow too wholesome to have slid 
headlong into a romantic facade at the expense of 
his body. 

His monster - "the audience" - may in some 
perverse and fascinated way have scripted Jarman's 
life for him. The tragedies of Dean/Monroe/Orton/ 
Vicious et al please the public, their fast lives and 
deaths satisfying the bohemian script and relieving 
the miserable boredom of fans and critics. Forces 
that require a conveyor belt of dead artists and pop 
stars to be used as some huge emotional crutch. 
Artists who lived life to the full on behalf of the 
audience (an audience that is in the main locked in 
a world of boring jobs, boring houses and boring 
marriages), and produced a steady stream of saleable 
relics - records and prints - are ensured a cultural 
immortality. 

The fact that Derek has been unlucky enough to 
contract a potentially lethal virus that in the main 
confines itself to people who lead interesting sex 
lives or take hard drugs served - sure enough - to 
massively increase public interest in both the man 
and his work. To Derek, though, and the thousands 
of others in his position, this is a time of uncertainty, 
of fear, of anger, of sadness. Every day. 

This is a strange mirror indeed. Just look at the last 
four years of Caravaggio's life, under threat from 
Rome. Caravaggio, though, was, for all his antisocial 
behaviour, a figure loved by the Establishment. Not 
so Jarman. The Art World aren't too keen on Derek 
because, in the words of the Royal Academy's 
Norman Rosenthal - "they tend to like people who 
stick at things". Jarman looks pained. 

“But I think I DO stick at things, you know, I've 
had exhibitions of my paintings, I’ve produced sets 
for opera and ballet. I've written several books, 
scripts. I've made a number of feature films -1 think 
to do that you've got to be quite a good sticker. 
Though I'm sure there are better stickers than me, 
Francis Bacon, for example. [Jarman is off to visit 
Bacon's show at the Tate later in the day]. Films, 
though, they include everything. Painting, music, set 
design, writing, filming. It uses it all up. Being just a 
painter nowadays is like being involved in stained 
glass. Film making is really the art form of the 


twentieth century. Being a film maker is wonderful. 
It's also a marvellous esoteric pursuit for someone 
like me and a lovely lifestyle.“ 

In the 23rd Century, the names of Fassbinder, 
Pasolini and Jarman may - who knows - carry as 
much weight as Michelangelo, Raphael and 
Caravaggio. 

That Jarman's cinema will live long there should be 
no doubt. As he himself said about Shakespeare's 
Tempest, “it's the greatest play in the English 
language because people are still trying to explain 
what it all means." Jarman, always sharp, knows that 
The Tempest appeals not to the intellect, but to the 
imagination. Just as with his films, audiences are 
then seeing something timeless because they must 
be applying their own interpretations to it. Once a 
piece of art is understood, it is absorbed and lost in 
the culture and used to make memory - and money. 
It ends up on an advertising hoarding or a biscuit 
tin. It dies. 

You may, using this logic, still think Jarman's work 
is rubbish, but must admit, it has life. He would ask 
no more. 

And so we leave him, alone with his sketchpad and 
imagination, perhaps on the beach at Porto Ercole, 
on the spot in the sand where Caravaggio fell dead 
and where Jarman, 361 years later, had anonymous 
sex in the dunes with an Italian boy... 

QUEEN ELIZABETH: The sea remindeth me of youth. Oh 
John Dee, do you remember the whispering secrets at 
Oxford like the sea breeze, the codes and counter codes, 
the secret language of flowers...and I with yellow 
celandine, true gold of the new spring of learning. 

JOHN DEE: Oh Majesty, to me you are the celandine now as 
then before, balm against all melancholy. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH: Ah, but I was young then. 

ARIEL: There and back and there and back. The waves 
break on the shores of England. The white cliffs stand 
against the void. We gaze seaward, contemplating the 
night journey. The sun sinks lower. The moon waits to 
make her entrance. In the south at Tilly Whim, a picture of 
wind and sea. In the west a vision of silver dew on a sea of 
pure gold. In the east a black hoarfrost. The sun eclipsed by 
the phoenix. In the north a howling chaos into which black 
rain falls without ceasing. Now is the time of departure, the 
last streamer that ties us to what is known - parts. We drift 
into a sea of storms. 

And now Elizabeth and Dee go along that same great 
highway, and the light of the air about them seemed 
somewhat dark, like evening or twilight, and as they 
walked the phoenix spoke and cried with a loud voice... 

“It's horribly uncomfortable dying from the HIV 
virus. It's like being in a coconut shy and having 
things thrown at you, being battered and buffeted. 
You can feel everything about your body falling 
apart. It's an appalling feeling. But I've had an 
amazingly wild and happy life, and I’ve not got a 
single regret. I've lived in a fantastic time. I've been 
blessed with the chance of making the films I 
wanted to make. I’d do everything the same way 
again. I don’t deny my past. I don't feel 'mea culpa' 
at all." 


150 • RAPID EYE 1 


We leave Derek washing the cups in his no- 
room-to-swing-a-cat kitchen, among the dried 
flowers. The last Englishman. Witnessing the last of 
England - the closed factory furnaces, now embers 
among the dark Satanic stumps. Police sirens screech 
beneath his window, the mirror glowing blue at 
night over Soho. Operation Tiger/Operation Faggot/ 
Operation Spanner. Operation censor. The guardian 
angels with gloves on go about their business of 
protecting new England's Peace and Love. Blinding 
all to its system of Hate and War. Who can doubt 
him? The Sun rises, the Sun sets, the World 
constantly changes colour. 

Self-obsessed, handsome, erudite, funny, 
intelligent, explorational and misunderstood - 
cruising through the anonymous hidden connections 
of Time and Space. They are all here in Charing Cross 
Road: Mr Caravaggio, Mr Dee, Mr Jarman, with their 
spirits to enforce, art to enhance; with their brushes 
and mirrors and lenses. Sweeping the leaves up from 
the garden, forming perfect, beautiful mounds that 
will, we love to know, all be blown away forever. All 
- despite their problems - fortunate men. Our eyes, 
now as then, with their celestial geometry in the 
micaolz olprt. They whisper... COME AWAY 


THE FILMS OF DEREK JARMAN 

A Journey To Avebury (1972) 

The Magician (1972) 

The Art Of Mirrors (1973) 

In The Shadow Of The Sun (1974) 
SEBASTIANE (1975) 

JUBILEE (1977) 

Jordan (1978) 

THE TEMPEST (1979) 

IMAGINING OCTOBER (1984) 
ANGELIC CONVERSATION (1984) 
CARAVAGGIO (1986) 

THE LAST OF ENGLAND (1987) 
WAR REQUIEM (1988) 

THE GARDEN (1990) 

EDWARD II (1991) 

WITTGENSTEIN (1992) 

BLUE (1993) 

THE BOOKS OF DEREK JARMAN 


Dancing Ledge (1984) 

The Last Of England (1987) 
Modern Nature (1991) 

At Your Own Risk (1992) 
Chroma (1993) 

Derek died in February 1994. 

"To Master, a long goodnight." 



THE GEMSTONE FILE 

An Investigation Into The Revelations Of Bruce Roberts, 

The Murder Of The Kennedy Brothers, 
And American Paranoia 


Nick Toczek 


The once popular illusion of American presidential 
integrity, honour and respectability now seems long 
gone. In the run-up to the 1988 election, the 
inclusion in the parade of potential candidates of so 
many proven cheats, fakes, frauds and liars came as 
no surprise to anyone. Yet, as recently as the early 
'60s, that picture of God-fearing and truly 
democratic liberal President whose moral and ethical 
honesty was beyond question still held its own with 
most white, and many black Americans. Indeed, it 
did so for the majority of people in the western 
world. 

That illusion died at 12.30pm on Friday November 
22, 1963 between the Dal-Tex Building. The Texas 
School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza in the 
centre of Dallas. 

In the passing motorcade was the 35th US 
President. A look of puzzlement had just passed 
across his face and he'd started to raise his right 
hand to the top of his head. But the hand never got 
there and there was no top to the head. As he 
slumped forward, chunks of skull, some brain and 
vast quantities of blood were already splattering 
across himself, his wife, the upholstery and everyone 
and everything within blood pressure shot. 

The blood on Governor John B. Connally Jr. 
however, was mostly his own. He'd taken two bullets 


and would soon be convinced, wrongly, that he was 
also about to die. 

Police Officer J.D. Tippit, on the other hand, had 
no idea that he'd only got 45 minutes to live. He too 
was to be shot down. And one more person was 
soon to die. Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of The 
Texas School Book Depository, would have his 
shooting televised on NBC in a little under 48 hours. 
But none of that mattered to him now. His concern 
was to slip out of the Depository and get away from 
the area. He'd just fired at least some of the shots. 
He probably knew that people in the car had been 
hit, but had no idea who, if anyone, was dead or 
dying. 

The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy gave 
rise to numerous questions and hatched a plethora 
of conspiracy theories. And the rushed and often 
inaccurate Warren Commission Report that 
constituted the official investigation did nothing to 
allay these worries. 

Thus the spectre of cover-up crawled across The 
White House lawn and took up permanent residence 
indoors. Not only did the subsequent incumbents fail 
completely in their repeated attempts to have it 
exorcised, but they actually induced its regular 
reappearances in a succession of guises. From the 
bombing of Cambodia, through the undignified US 



152 • RAPID EYE 1 



withdrawal from Vietnam, to Watergate, and on 
through Irangate, the cover-ups and lies multiplied 
under increasingly intense public scrutiny. 

As the news of Kennedy's death flashed across the 
globe many people openly wept. He'd championed 
civil rights. He'd been a figure of hope and faith to 
so many. He'd been painted as America's Mr Clean 
and the one bright hope for world peace and 
freedom in the face of a daunting future. If that's 
hard to believe now it is an indication of the 
discredit that has been brought to the post by the 
subsequent presidents: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, 
Reagan, and now Clinton. 

In the welter of post-assassination investigations, 
some unsavoury light was shed on the life and deeds 
of JFK, but much more began to be focused on some 
of the more clandestine machinery of American 
political and financial life. In particular, the work of 
members of the FBI and CIA was called into question. 
Likewise, the power of the Mafia and of big 
business, not just over local politicians or particular 
senators and governors, but over international 
politics as a whole. Congress and even the President 
himself. All of this and much more is covered by an 
extraordinary document called The Cemstone File. As 
far as can be established this work has never been 


published before - a fact that is all the more 
surprising considering that its author names those 
who actually killed Kennedy. 

Bruce Roberts studied journalism and physics at the 
University of Wisconsin in the mid-Thirties. Here too 
he first started to take an interest in the business 
activities of a Greek ship owner called Aristotle 
Onassis. But Roberts' special field of work - through 
physics - was crystallography. He applied himself to 
the creation of synthetic rubies and eventually came 
up with what he felt were viable artificial 
gemstones. In 1960, the year that saw JFK elected 
President, he approached Hughes Aircraft, the 
company founded by millionaire Howard Hughes, 
and tried to sell them his gemstones for use in laser 
beam research. As far as he was concerned, they 
simply stole his invention. 

Meanwhile, he reckoned to stumble on an Onassis- 
Hughes link that is, to say the least, bizzare in the 
extreme. Driven by his grudge against Hughes 
Aircraft, he began, in 1969, to secretly release 
sections of his findings to certain Americans. In all. 
The Gemstone File eventually came to well over a 
thousand pages. 

What follows, then, is an analysis of some of the 
allegations made by Bruce Roberts. Subsequent 
research into material by other writers involved 
suggest that a lot of his claims are provable and that 
they fit. There are also intriguing points highlighted 
for the first time. 

Aristotle Onassis was undoubtedly ruthless, 
cunning, calculating and, above all, insatiable in his 
greed for money and power. Roberts began his 
account in 1932 when Onassis, already a millionaire 
by way of selling opium in Argentina, set up a 
lucrative deal with Joseph Kennedy (JFK's father), 
Eugene Meyer (later to buy The Washington Post) 
and Meyer Lanski. The four of them made a fortune 
by importing bootleg liquor into the USA. 

Then we're told of an agreement two years later 
between Onassis, Rockefeller and the Seven Sisters 
(the world's major oil companies). This pact resulted 
in Onassis getting still richer by transporting cheap 
Arab oil on his ships. 

During World War II, Onassis amassed an even 
bigger fortune by selling oil and arms to both the 
Allies and the Germans and survived the entire war 
without losing a ship or even a single crewman. 

Then, in 1949, with the help of lawyer Burke 
Marshall, he bought US war surplus 'Liberty ships' 
(cheaply assembled, mass-production boats that 
became redundant soon after their useful wartime 
work) in a deal of questionable legality. 

Now comes the first of the amazing allegations. It 
concerns Texas millionaire Howard Hughes and forms 
the Onassis-Hughes connection. Up to and during 
1956, Hughes had been 'buying up' various US 
political figures such as senators and governors. 
Finally, he elicited the support of newly-elected 
Vice-President Nixon by way of a quarter million 
dollar non-repayable loan to Nixon's brother, 
Donald. Nixon then repaid the favour by having the 





GEMSTONE FILE • 153 


Internal Revenue Service and Treasury grant him tax 
free status (refused twice before to Hughes Medical 
Foundation, sole owner of Hughes aircraft). This 
created a tax free non-accountable money funnel or 
'laundry' for Hughes' various projects. Nixon also saw 
to it that anti-trust suits against Hughes' TWA and 
other enterprises were dropped. 

Then, according to Bruce Roberts, Onassis moved 
into action in March 1957. He had Hughes 
kidnapped from his Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow by 
some of his own employees, the main conspirator 
being Chester Davis (a Sicilian whose real name is 
Cesare). A few days after this, with the rest of the 
Hughes staff either ousted or taken into the new 
Hughes/Onassis organisation, he had Mayor Cannon 
(later to become senator) of Nevada arrange a fake 
marriage to Jean Peters. This serves to explain away 
Hughes' sudden loss of interest in chasing movie 
stars. 

Hughes, battered and brain-damaged by Mafia 
treatment, was taken to The Emerald Isles Hotel in 
the Bahamas, where the entire top floor had been 
rented for the Hughes party. Here, Hughes was shot 
full of heroin for thirty days and then taken off to a 
cell on Onassis' island, Skorpios. Here he spent the 
rest of his life, finally dying there on April 18, 1971. 
L. Wayne Rector, who had been employed by 
Hughes since 1955 to act as his double, took on the 
job full-time. He now became 'Hughes'. Thus Onassis 
had a much larger power base in the United States 
that included the entire Hughes empire as well as 
control over Nixon and all the other Hughes- 
purchased politicians. 

Later that year, Onassis called the Appalachian 
meeting at which he informed US Mafia leaders of 
his control of the Hughes empire and of his aim to 
continue the Hughes method of purchasing high- 
ranking politicians en masse in order to gain control 
of the US government 'legally'. 

The same year, Joseph Kennedy took JFK and wife 
Jackie to see Onassis on his yacht. This introduction 
was to remind Onassis of an old Mafia promise to 
deliver the Presidency to a Kennedy. Onassis agreed 
to it (and, significantly, according to Peter Evans' 
book Ari, developed more than a passing interest in 
fostering a friendship with Jackie). 

During 1958, hordes of Mafia-selected, purchased 
and supported candidates swept into office. 

1959 was the year of the Cuban revolution when 
in one sweep, Castro's government wiped out the 
island's lucrative Mafia gambling empire being run 
for Onassis by his 1932 partner, Meyer Lanski. Aside 
from the steady returns, Mafia losses included and 
immediate eight million dollars in unbanked casino 
receipts. 

Onassis was far from happy. Vice-President Nixon 
became operations chief for the CIA-planned Bay of 
Pigs invasion. Howard Hunt, James McCord and other 
CIA men teamed up with Cubans who were once 
members of former incumbent Batista's much-feared 
secret police. These men were then referred to by 
the US authorities as 'Cuban Freedom Fighters'. 


(Obvious parallels are to be drawn here between 
Cuba and current events in Nicaragua, where large 
US investments were similarly threatened by the 
revolution.) 

Meanwhile, 1959 was also the run-up to the US 
presidential election. Onassis could sit back and 
watch. The race was between Kennedy and Nixon. 
He controlled both candidates. 

JFK's election seemed to make everyone happy. 
However, things didn't go according to plan. For 
Kennedy, his 'thousand days' in office were to prove 
more than a little difficult. Apart from making 
numerous dangerous enemies in the right-wing 
establishment by his open support for the black civil 
rights movement, he'd got the war in Vietnam to 
contend with, a missile crisis in Cuba that brought 
the world to the brink of war, and he made a series 
of moves that outraged the Mafia. 

April 1961 was a disaster. The Bay of Pigs invasion 
of Cuba to overthrow Castro failed completely. The 
CIA and the Mafia placed the blame squarely on JFK. 
(In Lucien Vandenbroucke's book The 'Confessions' 
Of Allen Dulles, the then Director of the CIA is 
quoted as blaming Kennedy's "lack of determination 
to succeed" as prime cause of the defeat.) 

Onassis had his US right-hand man, Robert Maheu, 
hire and train a Mafia assassination team to kill 
Castro. To do this, the former FBI and CIA man who 
was 'Hughes' (ie Wayne Rector's) top aide, used a 
dozen Mafia hitmen including John Rosselli and 
Jimmy (The Weasel) Frattiano and working with 
Hunt and McCord formed a CIA/Mafia team who 
tried five times to kill Castro using everything from 
long-range rifles to sodium morphate pellets to 
induce a heart attack. Castro, however, survived. 

If the above seems far-fetched, it's all corroborated 
in John Raneleigh's book The Agency: The Rise And 
Decline Of The CIA. Maheu was indeed ex-CIA and 
FBI. He first worked for Onassis in Rome after the 
CIA had him 'bug' Onassis' room. And, in this 
account, he approached John Rosselli, Santos 
Trafficante and Sam Giancana, all three long-term 
high ranking mafiosi, with a deal to kill Castro for 
£150,000. (Interestingly, Giancana was Rosselli's boss 
and one of Giancana's mistresses was Judith 
Campbell. On February 7, 1960 at the Sands Hotel in 
Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra introduced her to JFK - 
dining at a nearby table, incidentally, was John 
Rosselli. Within four weeks, she became JFK's 
mistress. That affair was still going in the winter of 
1962 when she turned down Giancana's proposal of 
marriage. Raneleigh suggests this arrangement might 
have been seen as useful by Giancana but it would 
also have given him good reason to loathe JFK, 
remembering the fact that he was Rosselli's boss. A 
point that proves important later.) 

Around this time, Joseph Kennedy had a stroke, 
leaving sons John and Bobby (by then US Attorney 
General) free of his firm control. More importantly, 
however, they rebelled against Onassis' influence. It's 
hard to tell if they were motivated by idealism or 
their own ambition. It might also have been part of 



154 • RAPID EYE 1 



some inter-Mafia rivalry. Whatever the reason, the 
result was a series of actions that would threaten 
their well being. 

Firstly, they arrested Wally Bird, owner of Air 
Thailand who'd been shipping Onassis' heroin out of 
the Golden Triangle (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) 
under a CIA 'Air Opium' contract. They arrested 
Mafia man Jimmy Hoffa, leader of the Teamsters' (US 
truck drivers) Union - and jailed him. They declared 
the $73,000,000 in forged 'Hughes' land loans (which 
had been deposited with the San Francisco Bank of 
America as 'security' for the TWA judgement against 
Hughes) to be what they were - forgeries. 

By 1963, Mafia attention, under Onassis, shifted 
from Castro to JFK. According to Roberts, two 
particular killings are noteworthy. Senator Estes 
Kefuafer, whose crime commission investigation 
uncovered the 1932 Onassis-Kennedy-Meyer-Lanski 
deal, was murdered by way of a sodium morphate 
induced heart-attack which occurred on the floor of 
The Senate prior to a planned speech denouncing 
Mafia operations. Likewise Philip Graham, editor of 
the Washington Post and husband to Eugene 
Meyer's daughter, Katherine, whose sin was to side 
with Kennedy against Onassis. Roberts claims that 
Katherine bribed psychiatrists to certify her husband 
insane. He was later found dead from shotgun 
wounds to the head during a weekend visit home 
from the asylum and was subsequently ruled to have 
committed suicide. Roberts thinks otherwise. 

The climax to all this, though, is the killing of a 
President... well, two, in fact. On November 1, 1963, 
the Mafia plan was to mount a triple execution. 
Those targeted were JFK in a Chicago football 
stadium (Sam Giancana was Mafia boss of Chicago 


and, by this time, the most powerful figure in the US 
Mafia) and South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh 
Diem together with his powerful brother Ngo Dinh 
Nhu. (The latter pair did in fact die after a coup that 
was carried out with the full knowledge and 
approval of the CIA, according to Raneleigh.) 

But JFK was tipped off that Onassis planned to kill 
him and cancelled the stadium appearance. 
Ironically, at this point Jackie Kennedy was to be 
found on a cruise... with Onassis; and an enraged JFK 
phoned the yacht from the White House and told 
Jackie to "Get off that boat if you have to swim". No 
sooner said than done. 

It took only several days for Jackie to disembark in 
Turkey, walking down the gangway on the arm of 
Onassis. 

Onassis was using Maheu for the killing. The job 
was scheduled for November 22 in Dallas. This time 
they were going to do it right. Maheu enlisted the 
Mafia-CIA team he assembled for Castro. He added 
Mafia hitman Eugene Brading and a CIA man called 
Lee Harvey Oswald who was an oddball with 
carefully planned links with both the ultra-right and 
the Communists. He was set up as the 'patsy' and 
given the job of shooting Governor Connally. 
Brading, Frattiano and Rosselli were the three who'd 
got the JFK job. Hunt and McCord were also there to 
help. 

The plan would work like this: Each of the four 
hitmen would be accompanied by two assistants; a 
back-up man (to pick up the shells and get rid of the 
gun) and a timer (to signal when to shoot). 

Frattiano was an excellent shot. From a second- 
storey window of the Dal-Tex Building, using a 
hand-gun, he hit Kennedy twice, once in the back 
and once in the head. The Dallas Police Department 
was also in that building. Hitman and his back-up 
man were 'arrested' driven away in a police car, and 
later released without being charged. 

Rosselli, on Kennedy's left, and shooting from a 
small pagoda across the street from the grassy knoll, 
missed because of almost simultaneous hits by 
Rosselli and Frattiano. He got away by wearing a hat 
marked with an 'X'. Police had been previously 
instructed to let anyone through who was thus 
identifiable. It was used to indicate those who were 
secret service men. 

Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository 
through the front door, unaware that his back-up 
man had 'hidden' his rifle behind some boxes instead 
of getting rid of it. And, of course, the ruse worked. 
Ask anyone to name Kennedy's killer. 

The three men dressed as tramps picked up shells 
from Dealey Plaza. One of them was Howard Hunt. 
They wandered over to an empty boxcar on the 
railway spur behind the grassy knoll area and 
waited. The police took them in and held them until 
the alarm went out to pick up Oswald. They too 
were released without being charged. 

In all, ten men were arrested after the shooting. 
All were released without being charged. Not a word 
of their existence is mentioned in the Warren Report. 



GEMSTONE RLE • 155 


So what about the shooting of Officer Tippit? 
According to the Warren Report, at least 12 people 
saw Tippit stop, talk to a man and get out of his car 
and walk round the front towards the man. 

At this point, the man shot him four times. 
However, it only presents the evidence of two 
witnesses - Domingo Benavides and Helen Markham. 

Mark Lane, a lawyer who was dissatisfied with the 
Warren Commission's work, spent three years 
re-examining the evidence in painstaking detail. His 
book. Rush to Judgement, undermines many of the 
Commission's conclusions. When he comes to the 
Tippit murder, he demolishes Helen Markham's 
evidence, puts question marks against most of the 
corroboration offered by the other 11 witnesses and 
proves that two guns were used to shoot Tippit. He 
then comes up with several important witnesses that 
were never called up, suggesting they were ignored 
because they didn't 'fit', and finally comes up with 
one Acquilla Clemmons (see Sylvan Fox's book The 
Unanswered Questions About President Kennedy’s 
Assassination) who states she saw two gunmen. 

But what does Bruce Roberts claim? He says that 
Tippit was dispatched in his police radio car to the 
Oak Cliff section (all versions of the radio message 
back this up), where Oswald had rented a room. 
Tippit was supposed to kill Oswald, but something 
went wrong. (Here, Mark Lane adds credence to the 
assertion by proving that the radio transcripts 
presented to The Warren Commission were 
deliberately falsified and questions their claim that 
any calls from Tippit, if they existed, were too 
indistinct to reproduce.) Roberts goes on to say that 
Tippit was shot by two men using two revolvers and 
suggests that the witness Domingo Benavides, who 
used Tippit's car radio to report that “we’ve had a 
shooting here" may have been one of the men who 
shot him. (Significantly, a 'Domingo Benavides', 
according to Roberts, also crops up in relation to the 
Martin Luther King shooting.) 

Jack Ruby then shot Oswald. Mark Lane points out 
that both Oswald and Ruby had visited Cuba and 
established strong Cuban connections. Sylvan Fox 
points out that the Tippit murder occurred only two 
blocks from Ruby's home on Marsalis Street. 

William Manchester in his book The Death Of a 
President shows how Jack Ruby was a non-too-bright 
small-time hoodlum who got his kicks out of having 
a lot of cops as his personal friends. He set off to kill 
Oswald, was so confident of his success that he 
stopped to mail some money to an employee (Ruby 
ran two seedy clubs) and walked into the police 
station about a minute-and-a-half before delivering 
a .38 bullet through Oswald's liver, spleen and aorta. 

The odd fact is that the police brought Oswald out 
of the cells an hour later than planned, suggesting 
Ruby knew this was going to happen. When cross- 
examined on this point Ruby eventually shrugged 
and replied that the only way he could've known 
was if the police had told him. That's true. Ruby was 
a patriot and made much of his anger about the 
assassination in the two days between the deaths of 


Kennedy and Oswald. So, was there an Oswald-Ruby 
connection, perhaps via Cuba? Or was Ruby just 
another 'patsy' set up by the police to finish off the 
first or just nail a cop-killer? The possibilities 
multiply. Roberts adds an extra dimension by saying 
that Brading stayed at the Teamster-Mafia-Hoffa 
financed Cubana Motel in Dallas. Ruby was there the 
night before. 

Roberts also says that the inadequacies of the 
Warren Commission Report were far from accidental 
(Mark Lane says the same). He points a finger at 
Gerald Fox who, at Nixon’s recommendation, was 
one of the top six figures, after Warren, presiding on 
the Commission. (John Raneleigh emphasises Ford's 
close relationship with the CIA that dated back to 
the early 1950s.) 

Of the other five, three - Senator J.S. Cooper, 
Representative Hale Boggs and John J. McCoy - were 
easy-going and were unlikely to rock the boat. For 
some reason, Roberts fails to mention the other two. 
One was CIA chief Allen Dulles. The other was 
Senator Richard D. Russell who, to quote Raneleigh, 
was "an important Senate power” and " one of the 
key people involved with the CIA on Capitol Hill. 
From the 1950s until his death in 1971, Russell was a 
friend of the agency and defined his role in the 
Senate as protector of the security and position of 
the CIA." In other words, the CIA had nothing to 
fear from the Warren Commission, and by reason of 
their connections neither did the Mafia... nor did 
Onassis, if there's any truth in what Roberts has been 
telling us. 

So what happened to the three JFK hitmen? Here's 
what Roberts offers: 

Johnny Rosselli got $250,000 as a 'finder's fee' for 
bringing Onassis (by way of L. Wayne Rector as 
'Howard Hughes') to Las Vegas in 1967. The take¬ 
over of the city was handled for Onassis by Maheu. 
And Rosselli's quarter million was just part of his 
pay-off for the JFK head-shot. From Brian 
Freemantle's book CIA: The 'Honourable' Company 
comes this information. On 24 June, 1975 and again 
on 23 April, 1976 Rosselli (reluctantly because he 
feared the Mafia might kill him) testified to the 
Church Committee. On 7 August, 1976 his trussed 
body was found in an oil drum floating in 
Dumfoundling Bay, North Miami Beach. He'd been 
shot. 

Jimmy Frattiano's pay-off included $109,000 in 
'non-repayable loans' from the San Francisco 
National Bank (president Joe Alioto). Credit 
authorization for the series of loans, from 1964 
through 1965, came directly from Alioto and a high 
ranking Teamster official. Dun and Bradstreet noted 
this transaction with amazement and listed the loans 
in their 1964-65 monthly reports, wondering why 
Frattiano could obtain so much 'credit' when his only 
known occupation (and the one with which they 
actually credit him in their listings) was 'Mafia 
executioner'. This official recognition of his 
occupation must have amused him. Roberts says he 
went round for years boasting about it. He'd 



156 • RAPID EYE 1 



Death on Dealey Plaza 

introduce himself with the words, “Hi there, I'm 
Jimmy Frattiano, Mafia executioner." A bank 
vice-president later told the whole story to the 
California Crime Commission before it was carefully 
buried in a file. Later, Frattiano testified before a 
San Francisco Grand Jury with regard to his 
participation in the Sunrol Golf swindle. 

East Coast Mafia man Tony Romero was also 
involved and, according to Roberts, so was Mayor 
Joe Alioto. It cost the city of San Francisco between 
$100,000 and $500,000. In between, Frattiano had 
used his $109,000 to start a trucking company in the 
Imperial Valley, where he engaged in more 
swindling involving US government construction 
contracts. As one Californian Crime Commission 
member put it: "The Mafia is now doing business 
directly with the US government." 

Brading, despite his X-marked hat, was arrested 
briefly outside the Dal-Tex building, but was 
immediately released. Two months later, he was 
questioned by the FBI for The Warren Commission. 
Despite being a known criminal with an arrest record 
going back over 20 years (he was out on parole for 
a series of crimes when Roberts tells us he fired at 
JFK) the FBI simply reported that Brading knew 
nothing whatsoever about the assassination. Brading 
went on to become a charter member of the La 
Costa Country Club, a known Mafia haven, near San 
Clemente. He also became a runner for 'skim money' 
from the Onassis-Hughes Las Vegas casinos to 
Onassis' Swiss bank. Brian Freemantle tells us: "Sam 
Giancana went four times before Grand Jury 
investigations into organised crime in 1974 after 
unsuccessfully seeking help from the CIA to avoid 
appearing. On Thursday 19 July, 1975 staff from the 
Church Committee arrived in Chicago to arrange 
Giancana’s appearance before their assassination 
sessions. That night Giancana was shot to death in 
the basement of his home." 

And that's how to kill a president. This is how you 
cover it up. Virtually no limits, in terms of money or 
human life, were set on the cost of concealing the 
real facts behind the murder in 1963 of John F. 
Kennedy. The CIA, the Mafia, and (via the Onassis- 


Hughes connection) multi¬ 
national business interests 
were among those involved 
in the massive cover-up. 

It's in this light that we 
now look at the increasingly 
bizarre string of events over 
the decade following JFK's 
death. As we'll see, behind 
each lies the fear that the 
real truth will emerge. 

Oddly, perhaps, it hardly 
matters that the official story 
of Oswald as the lone-wolf 
motivated single assassin is 
hardly credited by anyone. 
On the contrary, the plethora 
of conspiracy theories that 
results from all the unanswered questions and the 
glaring inconsistencies help to cloud the issue. It 
would be hard to believe that Aristotle Onassis, 
having bought control over Nixon and Kennedy prior 
to the 1960 election and then having set up the JFK 
killing, didn't make sure he had Lyndon B. Johnson 
in his pocket. Bruce Roberts, in his Gemstone File, 
says that this was done by threat. And there's the 
implication that LBJ had prior knowledge of the 
Dallas shooting. 

JFK's death was confirmed 30 minutes after the 
shooting. One and a half hours later, LBJ was sworn 
in as the 36th President of the United States of 
America. Later, as he flew back to Washington, 
Johnson was warned over the plane's radio, in a 
message relayed from an airforce base, that "there 
was no conspiracy. Get it, Lyndon?" 

And how's this for a neat dirty twist with which to 
post script the JFK killing? It concerns a painter 
called Mary Pinchot-Meyer. She was the ex-wife of 
Cord Meyer (a co-founder of the CIA) and also the 
sister of journalist Ben Bradlee, a buddy of JFK, who 
was then a Newsweek correspondent, and later 
became editor of the Washington Post at the time of 
Watergate. 

Mary was one of JFK's seemingly innumerable 
bed-mates. (Two others were Danish journalist and 
suspected Nazi spy, Inga Arvad, and English 'vice-girl' 
Mariella Novotny, whose suspected KGB connections 
emerged when she grabbed headlines as an active 
figure in the 1963 Profumo Affair in Britain.) 
However, like Judith Campbell, she was a regular 
partner rather than one of his usual brief flings. Not 
only did she sleep with JFK in the White House itself, 
she actually got him stoned on marijuana, and even 
persuaded him to think about tripping!! He later 
wrote her love letters and she kept a detailed diary 
of their affair right up until his death. 

Eleven months later, in October '64, Mary 
Pinchot-Meyer was murdered in the street by "a 
crazed black youth". A young black man was 
arrested, charged, tried and found completely 
innocent. No-one's ever been caught for her murder. 
Her diary and the JFK love letter disappeared from 



GEMSTONE FILE • 157 



her home at this time. The CIA admitted one 
of their men "accidentally burned them”. 

For his years in office, LBJ diverted attention 
from internal politics. He greatly expanded the 
war in South East Asia. The old-style US urban ^ 
Mafia started to show signs of weakening. The 
CIA faced growing Senate opposition to its 
'unofficial' operations in the field of US 
internal politics. Such work was contrary to the M 
CIA's charter. Onassis, meanwhile, was filling 
important US government posts with his own 
men, manipulating government agencies to his 1 
own financial ends, and opening up more 
lucrative operations in South America via 
Rockefeller and his own man Kissinger. It was 
this duo who took over the running of 
Kennedy's 'Group of 40' big business ( 
think-tank. 

Now we come to the killing of another 
Kennedy brother. Robert Kennedy had already 
been implicated in a famous death. It's now 
fairly well established that he'd had an affair 
with Marilyn Monroe, as had brother JFK 
before him. What she knew as a result of 
these relationships, coupled with the fear that 
she'd spill the beans, especially with the rate 
at which she was pill popping and drinking, is 
often cited as the reason for her death. 

Certainly, some of the circumstances surrounding 
Monroe's supposed suicide on the night of 4 August, 
1962, were inconsistent with self- inflicted death. 
Robert Slatzer in his book The Life And Curious 
Death Of Marilyn Monroe says that Robert and 
Marilyn were actually briefly married (an informal 
ceremony in Mexico in October 1952). He goes on to 
establish that RFK was at least nearby on the night 
of Marilyn's death, if not actually in her house. And 
the Mafia link crops up too. In the months before 
her death, Marilyn's social life had centred on 
Sinatra's Mafia-riddled Ratpack parties. 

Bruce Roberts says that RFK knew who actually 
killed his brother in Dallas, adding that there was a 
full account of the events in RFK's unpublished book 
The Enemy Within. That alone should have been 
enough to get him killed. Add to this the fact that 
both Johnson and Onassis hated him with a 
vengeance equalled only by his dislike for the two of 
them. As US Attorney General, he'd implemented 
(and often been the driving force behind) most of 
JFK's moves and policies which brought about the 
Dallas death. RFK was the one obstacle between 
Aristotle and his plans to marry JFK’s widow, Jackie. 
Finally, he made the ultimate gaffe of deciding to 
run for President. They'd got rid of one Kennedy and 
weren't about to let another one into the White 
House. Anyway, the Onassis-Mafia-CIA axis had their 
own special candidate - Richard Milhous Nixon. 

The method used to kill RFK, according to Roberts, 
was a new one. Sirhan B. Sirhan, who took the 
blame for the killing, was the 'patsy', working under 
hypnosis. He was seen to fire his shots from in front 
of RFK. All those bullets in fact missed their target. 


Jack Ruby disposes of the patsy. 


Officer J D Tippit 


The actual killer, a 'security guard' from Lockheed 
Aircraft called Thane Cesar, fired from behind at a 
distance of two or three inches. He couldn't miss. 

Hypnosis may seem far fetched but, in fact since 
the early '50s, the CIA has been running experiments 



158 • RAPID EYE 1 



Bobby K hits L.A. 


on hypnosis, drugs and mind control. Project 
Bluebird looked at the application of psychology, 
drugs and hypnosis in interrogation techniques. Out 
of this work arose Project Artichoke which applied 
the same methods to making agents and other 
operatives function reliably, efficiently and without 
the interference of emotions. This work is well 
documented and formed the basis of such films as 
The Manchurian Candidate and Telefon - though 
both films attributed such methods to the KGB, not 
the CIA! 

RFK was shot on 5 June, 1968, at the Ambassador 
Hotel in Los Angeles. Frank Mankiewicz announced 
his death around 10am next morning. Onassis, six 
thousand miles away in London, phoned his closest 
friend and longtime confidant, Constantine Gratos, 
just after 10am. He said: "She's free of the Kennedys. 
The last link just broke." 

According to Peter Evans in his book Ari, Onassis 
showed no hint of regret, no trace of surprise. 
According to a London aide, he merely displayed “a 
sort of satisfaction that his biggest headache had 
been eliminated". Whether this is just another of the 
many examples of Onassis being heartless or the 
reaction of a much more ruthless man who knew full 
well, in advance, what would happen to RFK in LA is 
open to speculation. 

Only four months later, on Skorpios, Aristotle 
Socrates Onassis married Jacqueline Bouvier 
Kennedy. He who kills that man who welshes on a 
deal gets his wife - an old Mafia rule. 

According to Roberts, Thane Cesar's work was 


covered up by the LA District Attorney bearing the 
wonderful name of Evelle Younger. This not only 
earned him the post of California Attorney General, 
but also secured a judgeship for his son, Eric 
Younger, at the age of thirty. 

Roberts cites a documentary film. The Second Gun, 
based on the RFK murder. Made by LA author and 
director, Ted Charach, it was bought up and 
suppressed by Mafia-owned Warner Brothers. It 
seems that the movie included too many accurate 
details. 

By 1968, LBJ had had enough. He announced that 
he wouldn't be standing for re-election. Teddy 
Kennedy, last of the three brothers, was faced with 
a choice between candidacy and longevity. He opted 
for the latter. That left 'Tricky Dicky' Nixon with a 
clear path to the post he had been chasing for years. 
No-hoper Hubert Humphries was the token 
opposition fielded by the Democrats. It was a 
one-horse race, but of course it would be. Nixon was 
the man whom US big business wanted up there. It's 
said that his political career began when he 
answered a newspaper advertisement placed by a 
consortium of business bosses looking for their own 
presidential candidate. And, as we've seen, Onassis 
found him an easy fish to hook. In November 1968, 
Nixon became US President No. 37. 

The small island of Chappaquiddick was secluded. 
It had only twelve permanent residents, no shops, no 
restaurants, no hotels, not even a church. In mid-July 
1969, Senator Edward Kennedy, Joseph Gargan, Paul 
Markham, Ray La Rosa, John Crimmins and Charles 
Tretter arrived at a cottage on the island to spend 
the weekend partying. All were married men in their 
thirties and forties. None brought his wife. With 
them were six women in their twenties whom they 
referred to as Boiler Room Gals. They were Kennedy 
campaign workers. One of them was Mary Jo 
Kopechne. At 11.30pm on Friday, July 18, she 
stepped into Teddy's black Oldsmobile. He would 
later claim he was just driving her back to her hotel 
room on mainland. Strangely, under the circum¬ 
stances, she left her handbag and room key back at 
the party. 

He said he made a wrong turning on the way to 
the ferry. To do so, he had to turn sharply right off 
the paved road and travel three-quarters of a mile 
down a dirt track called Dike Road, before reaching 
Dike Bridge, beyond which lay a beautiful little 
beach. 

The route was well-known as a popular spot for 
late-night lovers. His mistake was even stranger 
given the fact that Teddy had regularly holidayed on 
Chappaquiddick since the age of seven. 

The car didn't skid, it just went straight off the 
bridge and settled upside down on the bed of the 
pond. Teddy got out. Mary Jo didn't. He said he 
went back to the cottage for help, returning with 
Markham and Gargan who watched while Teddy 
then dived in, over two hours after the accident, to 
attempt rescue. 

In order to walk back to the cottage, according to 




GEMSTONE RLE • 159 



Teddy Kennedy and wife Joan leaving the funeral of Mary Jo Kopechne 


Stephen Dunleavy and Peter Brown, in the carefully 
researched chapter on the drowning in their book 
Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys! (which is nothing 
like as superficial as its lurid title suggests), Teddy 
had to pass six houses, all occupied, four with lights 
on all night. And would two men let a senator, a 
man shaken up and shocked, dive into cold murky 
water while they stood by and watched? This seems 
especially unlikely considering that Teddy still wore 
a surgical brace as a result of a '64 plane crash. That 
Teddy then went to the Shiretown Inn and slept 
through till 8am seems extraordinary. Markham and 
Gargan, having spent the night in the cottage, called 
for him and the three took the ferry to the 
mainland. Only then, eight and a half hours after the 
incident, did Teddy inform the police. 

Meanwhile, the car had been found by a couple of 
fishermen. Mary Jo's body was in it. She had lived for 
some time, breathing in an air pocket. Doctors 
estimate that she lived for at least two hours after 
the accident. Ironically, only two weeks before, there 
had been a couple of similar accidents. In both cases, 
the people were pulled out alive, two hours later in 
the case of one passenger in an upside down 
Volkswagen. So why was Mary Jo allowed to die? 

Bruce Roberts says that Mary Jo's supposed affair 
with Teddy and his clumsily denying it, is part of a 
clever cover-up of the real facts. Mary Jo had been a 
devoted JFK aide, who later worked with Bobby and 
finally for Teddy. She had the job of packing up 
Bobby's files after his assassination. She read too 
much, learned about the Kennedy Mafia 
involvement, and began telling her friends. An 
honest and idealistic Catholic American, she was 
shocked by the double standards. On 


Chappaquiddick, she overheard Teddy's telephone 
conversations with Joe Alioto (of whom we'll learn 
more soon) and with other Mafia politicians. She 
died trying to get off the island after Teddy caught 
her attempting to contact Ralph Nader, the citizens' 
rights campaigner. 

During the two and a half hours that Roberts 
reckons Mary Jo was drowning, he says Teddy was 
on the 'phone. He spoke to Jackie, to Onassis 
himself, to Katherine Meyer Graham (daughter of 
Eugene Meyer and inheritor of her father's 
Washington Post) and to several lawyers. Jackie 
'phoned the Pope on Teddy's behalf. He assigned 
Cardinal Cushing (who'd handled the recent Jackie- 
Aristotle marriage) to help. It was Cushing's priests 
who later persuaded Mary Jo's parents not to push 
for an autopsy. When Teddy eventually decided, next 
day, to be seen to take the blame as driver of the 
car, he'd phoned lawyer Burke Marshall who had 
helped Onassis buy up Liberty ships in the 1940s and 
was the designated custodian of JFK's brains after 
Dallas (they've since disappeared). 

Before ending this episode let's look at a footnote 
to The Gemstone File’s account of the events. It 
offers a few more bizzare details as a gory postscript. 

During the Chappaquiddick cover-up arrangements 
Joan Tunney, sister of the senator, John Tunney, 
heard the end of a 'phone call to her brother made 
on the night of the drowning from her house in 
Tiburon. It concerned the Senate's part in the 
cover-up, in which it was agreed they would not ask 
to see the existing log of 'phone calls made by Teddy 
that night. Likewise, they wouldn't ask to hear the 
recordings of the calls. The next day, after hearing of 
Mary Jo's death, Joan ran away to Norway. From 



160 • RAPID EYE 1 


there, she was kidnapped by two Mafia hoods 
named Mari and Adams who locked her up in a 
Marseilles heroin factory for sixty days. Heroin fumes 
were used to make her a junkie of her (no needle 
marks) before they eventually turned her loose. She 
went home. Her husband complained of her strange 
behaviour. Her reaction was to behead him with an 
axe. She was subsequently locked up in an asylum 
belonging to the Marquis of Blandford who, at the 
time, was the husband of Tina Livanos Onassis - Ari's 
daughter. 

There's no gratitude in this world. Mari and Adams 
got pressed into scrap metal in a New Jersey auto 
junkyard. In the panic of trying to cover up all the 
facts behind Mary Jo's drowning, many skeletons 
started to rattle. In particular, the JFK murder details 
began to re-emerge. Black Panthers Hampton and 
Clark got shot dead by the Chicago cops because of 
what they knew about the JFK murder squad at 
Chicago (which was where Kennedy was originally 
going to be killed, three weeks before they finally 
assassinated him in Dallas). 

Daniel Ellsberg had been responsible, while 
working for the Rand Corporation, for designing the 
missile ring around the Iron Curtain countries. 
Describing him as 'a well-known hawk', Roberts is 
cynical about the 'folk hero' image he gained from 
leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times 
in May/June 1971. These papers purported to be the 
official and top-secret history of the US role in 
Indo-China. But Roberts says they were simply 
another piece of cover-up work; this time to make 
the Vietnamese war look like 'just one of those 
incredibly dumb mistakes' rather than the calculated 
money-spinner that it was. 

Unsure of its continued power in the US and 
deprived of the Cuban casino empire, the Mafia was 
looking to the world drugs trade. There was now a 
huge Western youth drugs culture to be milked, and 
the Vietnam war was helping to wean kids and 
young soldiers off pot and on to heroin. South East 
Asia (and South America) beckoned. For the CIA, 
involvement in the trade helped them to finance 
'suitable' governments. Also, imported drugs gave 
them another excuse to maintain their operations 
within US borders. The 'international student plot' 
that centred on opposition to the Vietnam war also 
gave them cause to operate inside the USA. In fact, 
student internationalism was almost entirely CIA 
funded and organised. It's catalogued in Student 
Power by Cockburn and Blackburn (Penguin Books). 
Onassis, as we have seen, made his first million out 
of drug deals. The CIA supplied planes to fly opium/ 
heroin out of the Golden Triangle. The Onassis-Mafia 
gang handled the distribution and marketing. And 
there were other methods of getting it out. As 
Roberts explains, heroin was sometimes brought into 
the US in the bodies of dead Gl's. One corpse with 
the guts removed can hold up to forty pounds of 
heroin. 

A lot of the heroin, Roberts claims, was processed 
in a Pepsi-Cola plant in Laos which never produced 


a single bottle of Pepsi. And he goes on to tell of 
one dope bust in San Francisco (under Mafia mayor 
Joe Alioto) that yielded six billion dollars worth of 
heroin. The story was hushed up and the stuff was 
stored for a while in the SF police department before 
being quietly removed by FBI men. From there, it 
vanished, probably into American veins. 

Nixon conducted a noisy campaign against dope 
smuggling over the Mexican border. However, the 
numerous dope arrests and murders were of 
independent dealers and smugglers trying to 
compete with the massive Mafia-run operation. 
Nixon's agent in charge of protecting Mafia dope 
interests was none other than Howard Hunt, 
encountered last in various CIA escapades. 

Ellsberg's boss at the Rand Corporation had been 
McNamara. Roberts says these two faked the 
Pentagon Papers and the 'leaking' of them. 

He says McNamara went on to become head of the 
World Bank through which American money for 
'starving nations' actually went into private accounts 
of various dictators. These accounts were in Swiss 
banks controlled by Onassis. For example, eight 
billion dollars in World Bank funds for 'starving 
Ethiopians' would end up in Emperor Haile Selassie's 
personal Swiss bank accounts. We've since seen 
similar examples such as Iran's former Shah and The 
Philippines' former leader, Marcos. 

On June 28, 1971, Ellsberg was indicted for 
'leaking' the papers. On September 3, 1971, there 
was a burglary at the Los Angeles offices of a Doctor 
Lewis Fielding, Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Later it would 
transpire that this was the first of the series of 
break-ins carried out by Nixon's team of 'plumbers', 
the most famous of which were the two Watergate 
break-ins. Two key figures in this White House 
burglary team were the ubiquitous duo Howard 
Hunt and James McCord who, as we have seen, were 
in the Castro/JFK death squads. 

It wouldn't be until April 27, 1973, during the trial 
of Ellsberg, that presiding judge Matthew Byrne 
would reveal to the public that Watergate 
conspirators Howard Hunt and G Gordon Liddy had 
done the Fielding break-in. The judge continued on 
May 11, 1973 to declare a mistrial and to dismiss all 
charges against Ellsberg. In doing so, he also 
revealed that Watergate burglar John Ehrlichman, 
then the domestic affairs assistant to President 
Nixon, had offered him the post of Director of the 
FBI in exchange for another cover-up. 

Why the Fielding break-in? The Pentagon Papers 
were very damaging to the CIA. Hunt and McCord 
had both 'left' the CIA in 1970. However, an 
indication of the real situation is given by the fact 
that throughout his career as a White House burglar. 
Hunt was supplied with necessary equipment directly 
from CIA stores. That first burglary was to get hold 
of Ellsberg's psychiatric records. These could be used 
initially to secure his full co-operation and, later, to 
discredit him. 

Hunt was appointed a White House 'security 
consultant' in July 1971, although he'd already been 




GEMSTONE FILE • 161 


there a while by that time. Throughout June and 
July of that year, Nixon set up his 'plumber's unit'. Its 
official job description was 'to stop security leaks and 
to investigate other security matters'. As this work 
expanded, more and more members of the White 
House staff became directly involved in its highly 
illegal activities. And the CIA, desperate to create a 
few successes that would improve their own flagging 
standing in the White House, was right in there with 
them. John Raneleigh backs this up in his book The 
Agency: The Rise And Decline Of The CIA. 

1972 would be election year. Nixon wanted a 
second term. To ensure Nixon's re-election, some 
anti-Democratic Party smears would be used. On 
September 23, 1971, according to Roberts, Howard 
Hunt spliced up phoney cables implicating the JFK 
administration in the assassination on November 2 
1963, of President Diem and his brother Nhu in 
South Vietnam. For more dirt, more burgling was 
planned. 

The Watergate complex is a plush mixture of 
office, apartment and hotel facilities on the bank of 
the Potomac river in downtown Washington. A 
Republican stronghold, it surprisingly also acted at 
this time as home to the headquarters of the 
Democratic National Committee. The successful 
bugging of these premises would obviously have 
greatly helped Nixon in his campaign to retain the 
presidency for another four-year term. However, 
direct CIA involvement in one side of a party political 
struggle would have been completely contrary to the 
agency's charter. It was a non-political body, allowed 
no role at all in US politics. It's easy to see why Hunt 
and McCord 'quit'. 

The team that actually tackled the first Watergate 
break-in in the early morning of May 28, 1972 
consisted of McCord, Barker, Martinez, Garcia, 
Gonzalez and Sturgis. De Diego and Dico stood 
guard outside. Hunt, along with the evil Gordon 
Liddy, directed operations from a short distance. 
Martinez, incidentally, was another 'former' CIA 
man. The plumbers set up their bugging equipment. 

Bruce Roberts knew some of the plumbers. Even 
before the Watergate break-in, he socialised with 
several of them. Here's how he fills in some details 
that are missing from standard accounts. 

In January 1972, the Watergate team were in San 
Francisco to plan tactics. They showed up at the Drift 
Inn, a CIA-FBI hangout bar also frequented by 
Roberts. The Drift Inn bartender, Al Strom, recorded 
their conversations. He was being paid to do so by 
Katherine Meyer Graham. So, her paper's reporters, 
Bernstein and Woodward, didn't just stumble upon 
the Watergate break-in facts to create the 
subsequent Washington Post expose. Their editors 
knew all about the plumbers and their plans well in 
advance. At least, that has to be the case if we 
believe The Gemstone File. Roberts says that Al 
Strom, a close friend, passed the details on to him 
too, adding that the bar was also wired for sound by 
Russians, Arabs and Chinese. 

On January 27, Roberts tells us, Gordon Liddy and 


John Dean (counsel to the President) met in the 
office of former Attorney General John Mitchell. 
Here Liddy outlined his plan for a million dollar spy 
and kidnap operation. Central to this was breaking 
into the Las Vegas office of Hank Greenspun 
(Herman Greenspun, editor of the Las Vegas Sun 
newspaper). The aim was to recover Greenspun's files 
on the Howard Hughes kidnapping and the Onassis 
Las Vegas operations. Apparently, Greenspun had 
used these to blackmail Onassis out of over four 
million dollars. A getaway plane would stand by to 
take the White House burglars to Mexico. 

Around this time, Liddy and Hunt were travelling 
round a lot under aliases, often names used by Hunt 
in his spy novels. And they used Hughes Tool Co. (a 
Howard Hughes company) cards as their business 
front. If all this seems a bit over the top, it was. Hunt 
liked to dress up, using wigs and other accessories to 
disguise his appearance. Such items were among the 
equipment supplied to him by the CIA. It all smacks 
of the novelist trying to live out fictional roles. If it 
weren't so sinister, it would be funny. 

Most of the photos of Liddy, Hunt and the other 
plumbers which later appeared in The Washington 
Post were taken for Katherine Graham by Al Strom. 
He was able to do the job without them noticing 
whenever one of them dropped into the Drift Inn for 
a beer. 

Al Strom was killed on July 9, 1973. Roberts 
reckons he died by order of Katherine Graham for 
having shared her information with Roberts. 

In April 1972, Liddy gave McCord $76,000. He 
spent $58,000 of this on bugging equipment and 
cameras. 

The first Watergate break-in on May 28, 1972 
seemed to go without a hitch. In fact, they were 
being observed by Hoi Lipst, Katherine Graham's 
detective, who had been following two of the 
plumbers. He reported back to his boss and the two 
of them set up a trap for the team when they had 
returned to remove the bugs and other equipment 
they had installed. 

On June 17 Hal Lipset, disguised as a mailman, 
taped the door at Watergate. Frank Wills, the 
security guard, discovered the tape and became 
suspicious. He called the police who caught the team 
red-handed. Only Liddy and Hunt avoided arrest. 

Liddy immediately telephoned Magruder (deputy 
director of White House communications) who was 
in California at the time. He notified Mitchell and 
the others. There was plenty of time to burn files 
and destroy incriminating evidence. Another cover- 
up was under way. 

On June 20, Larry O'Brien, chairman of the 
Democratic National Party, filed a million dollar suit 
for the burglary and bugging. He filed it against the 
Committee for the Re-election of the President 
(usually referred to as CRP, but Roberts calls it 
CREEP). In doing so, he named Francis L. Dale as 
head of CREEP. 

Roberts points out that this was a big Mafia 
mistake, as Dale led directly back to Onassis. Indeed 



162 • RAPID EYE 1 



Watergate shitface James W. McCord Jnr. 


this is one of the only times that the name of Francis 
L. Dale crops up. It seems that everyone conspired in 
ensuring that he's omitted from all records of 
Watergate and surrounding events. And this is 
strange indeed. 

CREEP was the organisation behind the break-ins. 
Liddy, Magruder and Mitchell were all key figures in 
the management structure of CREEP, as were many 
others whose name crops up in reference to the role 
of the White House in Watergate. 

Roberts first mentioned Dale and CREEP with 
reference to the pay-offs for the JFK cover-up. He 
says that CIA's Dallas chief John McCone was 
rewarded for his co-operation by being given a seat 
on the board of the International Telephone and 
Telegraph Corporation (ITT), sitting right next to 
Francis L. Dale. 

Next mention comes in February 1972 when, 
Roberts tells us. Dale pressurised Magruder to push 
Liddy into Watergate. Adding that, by April, money 
was pouring into CREEP. Roberts claims that Gulf 
Resources and Chemicals Corporation of Houston 
contributed $100,000 illegally (laundered through 
Mexico, coming back through Liedke of Penzoil 
Corporation, Houston). He says Robert Vesco gave 
$200,000 in campaign contributions to Maurice Stans. 
Stans was finance chairman of CREEP and former US 
secretary of commerce. Bernstein and Woodward 
confirm this in All The President's Men: 
"International financier and accused swindler Robert 
L. Vesco's gift of $200,000 in $100 bills was delivered 
to the committee in a black attache case. It had been 
added to the cash fund in Stans’ safe and had helped 
finance the Watergate operation and other under¬ 
cover activities. " The $76,000 that Liddy gave McCord 
came from this fund. 

Robert tells us that on May 10, 1973, the first 
witness at the Watergate hearing running down the 
names on the CREEP organisational chart, mentioned 
one named at the top: Francis L. Dale, chairman. His 
name was never mentioned again during the rest of 
the trial. Indeed, his name never occurs in the book 
by Bernstein and Woodward, who won a Pulitzer 
prize for their Washington Post expose of the whole 


Watergate scandal. The suggestion is that multi¬ 
national ITT was powerful enough to buy their man 
out of the whole mess. 

The Gemstone File offers an interesting postscript 
to underline the power of ITT. Roberts says that in 
August 1973, Rockefeller, Kissinger and the CIA 
joined forces with ITT to bring down the Allende 
government in Chile. This accusation would seem to 
be fairly well founded. McCone, former CIA head, 
was now on the ITT board. His former second-in- 
command at the CIA, Richard Helms, was now head 
of CIA. John Raneleigh, in his book on the CIA, says 
that McCone approached Helms and proposed a 
joint CIA-ITT effort to prevent an Allende victory in 
that year's election. ITT offered the CIA a million 
dollars up front to fund such an operation. Helms 
gave ITT the contracts to the job themselves. Allende 
got in and did exactly what ITT feared. He 
nationalised their holding in Chile. ITT lost 
$8,000,000. Roberts tells us that after Allende was 
toppled in August 1973, Rockefeller got back his lost 
investment (in copper mines) and ITT got a return of 
$125,000,000. 

Another scandal, in early 1972, supposedly 
involved ITT, Hunt, Mitchell and Nixon. It seems ITT 
merged with the Hartford Insurance Group rather 
too easily after they funded the Republican 
Convention in San Diego for Nixon. 

Back in the USA, on August 6, 1974, Richard Nixon 
and Gerry Ford met at the White House and agreed 
that Ford would become the President, Nixon would 
burn his tapes and files and Ford would assist in any 
way necessary to cover it all up. Two days later, 
Nixon resigned. 

On August 30, Ford hired, in Roberts' words, 
“Mafia lawyer Becker to work out a pardon deal for 
Nixon". Then, on 8th September, Ford pardoned 
Nixon for “all crimes committed from 20th June 1969 
through August 1974". In October, the Watergate 
trail began. Roberts describes it as "the cover-up of 
the cover-up". 

Previously we learned that Howard Hughes, 
kidnapped by Onassis in 1957, was pumped full of 
heroin and reduced to a vegetable. Onassis kept him 
locked up on the island of Skorpios until his death in 
April 1971. L. Wayne Rector, whom Hughes had 
taken on as his double in 1955, got the stand-in job 
full-time from 1957 onwards. 

The death of the real Hughes hardly mattered to 
Onassis. His handwriting could be duplicated by a 
computer and all the known facts about his life had 
been compiled, with a computerised biography 
having gone out to top 'Hughes' executives. 

Then, Roberts tells us, Clifford Irving, a writer who 
wanted to do a book on Hughes approached the 
'Hughes’ Mormon Mafia (the six 'nursemaids') for 
information. He persuaded one of them, Merryman, 
to give him a copy of the computerised biography. 
Irving used this to produce the book that became 
the centre of much controversy. 

Onassis was furious. He mistakenly thought that 
Robert Mahue had leaked the information and fired 


GEMSTONE FILE • 163 


him in November 1970. On Thanksgiving Eve, the 
'Hughes' entourage made a well-publicised 'secret 
departure' from Las Vegas (where they'd been living 
for the past three years, with Maheu running the 
'Hughes' casino business for Onassis). In December, 
discovering his mistake, Onassis had Merryman killed. 

On April 18, 1971, the very day that the real 
Hughes died, Clifford Irving's wife, according to 
Roberts, presented her husband's cheque for the 
writing of the book to Onassis' Swiss Bank. It was 
made by 'Hughes'. Onassis paid up. 

Three years later, in January 1974, Robert Maheu 
won a damages suit that he'd filed against 'Hughes' 
for the loss of his half million dollars salary and, as 
Roberts puts it, “had his blackmail carefully hedged". 
Maheu knew enough to incriminate everyone, 
Onassis included. Onassis paid again. 

The 'Hughes' party (Rector, his nursemaid guards, 
etc.) first stopped off in the Bahamas. Here, they 
murdered the governor and a police chief who 
noticed there was no 'Hughes', just Mafia. They then 
moved to Nicaragua and on to Canada. Here, 
Roberts says, they worked a Canadian Stock 
Exchange fiddle before moving to England, holing 
up at what Roberts terms "Rothschild's Inn of the 
Park, London". Here, around the end of 1972 they 
killed L. Wayne Rector, but maintained the pretence 
of caring for an ageing and eccentric Hughes. 

If you saw the film Howard And Melvin, based on 
an allegedly true encounter, you'll realise that 
Melvin actually met Rector, presumably on the run 
from his nursemaids. The money left by 'Hughes' to 
Melvin in his will would then have been the pay-off 
from Onassis for keeping quiet on that aspect of the 
story. 

And if Hughes died in '71 and Rector died in '72, 
then whose body became the official Hughes corpse 
in Houston, Texas on 4th April '76? The FBI must 
have wondered. They took the singularly unusual 
step of fingerprinting the body! They 'positively 
identified' the corpse as Hughes and Dr. Henry 
Macintosh described the death as being "just like 
any other". Cause: chronic renal failure. 

Roberts says that G Gordon Liddy arranged 
Rector's death, along with those of Lyndon Johnson 
(by sodium morphate-induced heart attack), Eugene 
Lyman (Californian Democratic Party Chairman and 
JFK Mafia bagman, also by sodium morphate), and 
Alexander Onassis. Alexander, only son of Aristotle, 
died when his plane crashed a few seconds after 
take-off from Athens International Airport on the 
afternoon of January 22, 1973. Roberts says this was 
engineered by fixing the altimeter "at the 1000-foot 
Walter Reuter level". 

Roberts himself had by now become deeply 
enmeshed in the corrupt business. He wanted to see 
this foursome killed and claims that he offered Liddy 
'the Chinese stock market in ears' (i.e. a lot of 
money) if he would rid the world of them, adding 
that “Quoting the prices to Liddy at the Drift Inn (in 
February 1972) made their deaths a mortal clinch. 
Liddy’s like that, and that's why the murdering slob 



Onassis and Jackie on Skorpios 


was picked by the Mafia. “ 

Nixon and others had been receiving each section 
of The Gemstone File since 1969, which is when 
Roberts first started to make copies of his revelations 
available to certain Americans. Roberts claims that 
the eighteen and a half minutes of 'accidentally 
erased' White House tapes were of Nixon cursing 
and swearing in a fit of rage at those who'd taped 
the door at the Watergate building. In part, not 
knowing about Hal Lipset, he blamed "that asshole 
Roberts" whom he suspected simply because he'd 
been doing so much nosing about to compile his file. 
Nixon also named Onassis, Hughes and Dale. The 
tape couldn't be released. 

According to Roberts, a secretary called Beverly 
Kaye later heard the 'erased' tape, having found it 
stored in a locked room in the White House. It upset 
her. She sent some depressed letters to friends. She 
became a problem. She too died of a sodium 
morphate heart attack in a White House elevator. 

Sodium morphate, says Roberts, has been a 
favourite Mafia poison for centuries. It smells like 
apple pie, and causes lethargy, sleep and sometimes 
vomiting, followed by a heart attack. It leaves no 
trace in the body. 

In May 1972, J. Edgar Hoover, right-wing boss of 
the FBI, had just such a heart attack after eating 
apple pie. He'd had a copy of The Gemstone File 
and, Roberts tells us, intended to expose the 
Dallas-JFK story in his book entitled The Texas Mafia. 
All his files were burned after his death. 

Meanwhile, Aristotle Onassis, maker and breaker 
of Presidents, had thrown in the towel. Having lost 
his only son, to whom he had intended to hand over 
his entire global empire, he died on Saturday, March 
15, 1974, a wreck of a man. Jackie was in New York 
at the time. 




THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF ALCHEMY 



Kenneth Rayner Johnson 


ALCHEMY? 

A dead, pseudo-science, the forerunner of chemistry 
in which a long line of misguided individuals tried to 
turn lead into gold? 

Or an elaborate, ornate and fanciful precursor of 
experimental psychology? 

The real secret of the alchemical art or Hermetic 
science is contained, for those capable of grasping it, 
in a brief inscription on one of Heinrich Khunrath's 
illustrations. It appears on a panel on the left-hand 
side of an engraving entitled: 'The Door of the 
Sanctuary and the Stairway of the Sages'. The plate 
was featured in Khunrath's Amphiteatrum Sapientiae 
Aeternae Christiano-Kabalisticum, published in 
Hanau, Germany, in 1609. In translation, the Latin 
inscription says simply: "Mystery truly divine, which 
by right reason shall ravish with wonder and love all 
beholding it and THOSE CHIEFLY WHO SHALL 
CONSIDER IT INWARDLY." The emphasis is my own. 

Forget the retorts, athanors, alembics, sandbaths, 
curcubites and all the other pots-and-pans 
paraphernalia usually associated with the alchemist. 
Forget, too, the idea of a literal, magical 
transmutation of the base metals into gold. At least, 
for the time being. 

The truth is - despite the voluminous documented 
evidence for physical laboratory operations - that 
they are essentially intended to be symbolic. 
European writers on alchemy have underlined this 
quite clearly and frequently by making a precise 
distinction between the true Alchemist and his 


vainglorious but all too literal-minded imitator, the 
Souffleur, or “Puffer" (at the bellows). 

For those who may have read my book The 
Fulcanelli Phenomenon (Neville Spearman, 1980), this 
may appear at first sight to be something of a 
recantation; a total about-face. In a sense, perhaps it 

is. But I should explain that, since writing that 
volume, with its necessary historical background to 
set the scene for the advent of Fulcanelli, France's 
Master Alchemist, I have continued to study the 
subject and, as a result, have readjusted my overall 
viewpoint. 

In fact, the study of alchemy and the abstruse, 
ancient texts which purport to unveil its secrets, may 
itself be thought of as part of the alchemical process. 
A long and complex exercise involving the real First 
Matter: the human process of mentation. 

The fact of the matter is that the true Adepts of 
the art, for some reason I won't enter into here, 
wrote in allegory or code. The code itself and its 
various glyphs, ciphers and phraseology was 
elaborated upon, underwent changes and was 
modified over the centuries by the various operants 
and by different 'schools'. But it remained an 
allegorical code nevertheless. 

Without being absolutely explicit, many alchemical 
writers pointed to this fact. Fulcanelli himself, and 
his pupil M. Eugene Canseliet, alerted the reader to 

it, when speaking of a 'phonetic cabala', 'the 
Language of the Gods', 'the Language of Diplomacy', 
and of cant, play on words. 



ALCHEMY • 165 



The Gateway to Eternal Wisdom 


And on the penultimate page of his first treatise, 
Le Mystere Des Cath^drales (Spearman, 1971), 
Fulcanelli emphasized once and for all that alchemy 
is a mental labour: “It demands the greatest 
simplicity and complete indifference with regard to 
theories, systems and hypotheses... It requires its 
candidates to LEARN TO THINK MORE WITH THEIR 
OWN BRAINS and less with those of others... By 
constant exercise of the faculties of observation and 
reasoning AND BY MEDITATION, the novice will 
climb the steps leading to KNOWLEDGE". Again, the 
emphasis is mine. 

So, what are these many symbols of the Hermetic 
allegorical code and how are they applied? Let us 
begin by looking at that old stumbling block, First 
Matter, without which, the alchemists warn, the 
Great Work cannot even be started. (And having told 
you that, they invariably - no doubt with a wicked 
smile - proceed to tell you everything - except what 
the mysterious First Matter, or Prima Materia, is!) 

First Matter is variously described as more precious 
than any gold or treasure and yet a most common 
thing, which everyone has in their possession. It is 
something with which children play, which women 
spin, that is found everywhere and yet is spurned, 
ignored or unnoticed by most people. It has been 
described as "like thick, curdling milk, but it is not 
milk", or “like mud, but not like any other mud". 

In their attempts to find something that answers 
to any or all of these descriptions, the Souffleurs 
tried working with all manner of things: 

Urine (ever seen a woman spinning it?); horseshit 
(try taking a few grammes to an assayer); dew (not 
found everywhere, is it?); blood (scarcely unnoticed 
by the average person); vitriol (sulphuric acid is not 
a recommended plaything for kids); mud, milk, 
common earth, menstrual fluid, semen... and so on, 
ad absurdum. Just about everything imaginable 
seems to have been tried at one time or another by 
the 'physical' alchemists. 

And yet, with a little careful consideration, there 
is really only one thing which will really fulfil the 
innumerable descriptions applied to First Matter by 



Soul and Spirit separated from the Body 


the Alchemists, provided it is borne in mind that they 
are great allegorizers: the mind itself, conscious and, 
of course, subconscious. 

On first consideration, this proposition might seem 
so simple as to be absurd. Yet isn't this what so 
many of the alchemists also assert: that it is so simple 
that nobody believes it? 

As I noted in my book, many people sighed with 
relief when Dr Carl Gustav Jung put his final full-stop 
on the last of his erudite works on alchemy 
(Alchemical Studies, Psychology & Alchemy, 
Mysterium Coniunctionis, The Psychology Of The 
Transference, etc. etc.). 

It must have been a great comfort to many 
academics and scientists who had wrestled vainly 
with the subject, to be able to read Jung and then 



Soul and Spirit in the Body 






166 • RAPID EYE 1 



Body, Soul and Sprit 


say: “Of course! It's so simple - alchemy was just an 
archaic expression of Jung's individuation process; a 
medieval form of psychoanalysis." And, in the loosest 
sense, that is true. 

Unfortunately, however, Jung himself did not - 
perhaps he knew, but dared not - take it any further 
than that. Yet what he postulated does lend itself to 
further development. 

The real and completed alchemical process, which 
a fellow-researcher and author, Roy Norvill has called 
“the transmission of consciousness“, can result in 
much more than the self-integration of the 
personality. And I cannot recommend highly enough 
Norvill's book Hermes Unveiled (Ashgrove Press, 
1987) and its planned sequels, in which he elaborates 
upon the process in much more detail than I can 
hope to do here. 

Before we examine the process itself, let us look at 
some more examples of Hermetic symbolism and 
allegory. 

First of all, it should be noted that genuinely 
knowledgeable writers in allegory, who may be 
considered initiates, tend to alert the reader from 
the very outset that they are writing in allegory. And 
by studying various texts, it is possible to build up a 
Hermetic key of codewords, literary devices and 
phrases which crop up over and over again and 
which enable the unlocking of the alchemical 
'secret'. 

Here, then, at random, are examples of the kind of 
devices used by the Hermetic writers - and they are 
to be found in a surprising number of sources, apart 
from purely alchemical works, not always recognised 
by students of the occult as sources of Hermetic 
knowledge: the Old and New Testaments; Plato; 
Greek and Egyptian mythology; stories of buried 
treasure; legends of Atlantis and Shangri-la; the 
Arthurian cycle; sacred dramas - even classic works of 
fiction, like Victor Hugo's The Hunchback Of Notre 


Dame, H. Rider Haggard's She and Mary Shelley's 
Frankenstein. 

The original difficulty is that, as in some 
languages, such as Arabic, the Hermetic writers used 
a whole range of words, emblems or phrases to 
indicate the same idea. 

The meditational process itself, for instance - 
leading to Norvill's "transmission of consciousness" 
- may be found symbolised in the following ways: 

Any act of labour. 

Any journey, pilgrimage or voyage, usually 
involving a 'long and circuitous' route. 

Any symbolism involving the number three - 
because there are three main stages, or degrees, in 
the process. 

A mass exodus, as in the Old Testament. 

A period of 40 days and nights, or years, a device 
which occurs frequently in the Bible. 

Any reference to 'celestial' agriculture. 

Death or sacrifice (of the conscious mind), as in the 
lives of avatars such as Krishna, Prometheus, Christ, 
Odin, and many of the saints. 

Acts of torture, as in the cases of the martyrs. 

References to ‘blackening’ - again, the stilling of 
the conscious mind; the Ethiopian, or nigredo stage 
in alchemy. 

The slaying of a dragon or monster - once again, 
the quelling of random thoughts of the conscious 
mind, which are a bar to any progress in the process. 

Watching -as in the shepherds who 'watched their 
flocks' (i.e. random thoughts) 'by night' (in the inner 
silence of the mind); or Jesus, who urged his disciples 
to 'watch' in the garden of Gethsemane, and 
rebuked them because they failed to do so. 

Finally, the operation may also be indicated by a 
string of related symbols, all of which suggest the 
same idea of sustained, inner reflection: the Moon 
(reflected light), silver, mercury, water, a mirror or 
glass vessel, the sea or 'mare' and thus on to Mary, 
the Virgin. 

The Alchemists' mysterious 'Our Mercury', which 
they are quick to point out is not common, 
elemental mercury, is one of the major devices for 
indicating the sustained, inward-looking attention 
necessary for the process. Also used for this same 
concept are the sword, the javelin or spear, and the 
goat (sure-footed and determined). 

The ubiquitous and equally mysterious 'Secret Fire' 
of the alchemists is also none other than sustained 
concentration. Metals are the emotions, which get in 
the way of the process, while blood or circulation 
signify the random thoughts. 

Symbols used for the conscious mind by the 
Hermetic writers include the following: 

A dog, and any related canine references: Sirius or 
Sothis, the dog star; Cerberus, the three-headed 
dog-guardian of Hades; Anubis the Watcher, etc. 

Ugliness - the hunchback, a monster, or a camel, 
for example. 

A stone, earth, or compost. 

The serpent or dragon which must, like the 
conscious thoughts, be slain. 






ALCHEMY • 167 


A bearded old man, a hermit, or Saturn, Uranus, 
Kronos, indicating that the process required time. 

Lead or base metals; the crucible. 

The left hand or foot. 

The sabot, or boot. 

It is an interesting digression here that it was the 
use of the left hand by the Hermeticists, to denote 
the unwanted ramblings of the conscious mind, 
which eventually lead to the equation of 'left' with 
'evil'. The aspirant's greatest enemy in undertaking 
the Hermetic meditation process is his conscious 
mind. 

Allegories employed for the Subconscious Mind, on 
the other hand, include: 

Any fabled land of Utopia: Punt, Shamballah, 
Shangri-la, Atlantis or Avalon. 

Buried treasure - the 'treasure' of the enlightened 
mind. 

The mushroom, or bolt-capped plant, and the 
leopard; even the disease of leprosy. (These 
particular devices are too complex to explain here; a 
reading of John M. Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom 
& the Cross should provide some insights. It may, 
however, be pointed out that all involved 'spots’.) 

Any place that is barren and desolate: the 
wilderness, the North or, depending upon the 
fashion at the time of allegorizing - the East; 
Holland - the 'nether lands'; Spain (again, a matter 
of temporal style). 

Any pure spring or unblemished source of water. 
i.e. a fountain. 

More obscurely, perhaps, a thorn or bramble and, 
particularly in French alchemy, the lily-branch. 

The right hand or foot. 

Now, armed with this compendium of frequently 
applied symbols - and this is by no means a complete 
and comprehensive list - it should be possible to 
make much more sense of the abstruse Hermetic 
tracts. And, indeed, of many other writings not 
normally associated in the popular mind with 
Hermeticism or esoterica. 

It should also be noted that, in setting out their 
versions of the Hermetic process, the adepts used 
real, historical events and settings, as well as fabled 
and legendary stories, to indicate the required 
method. I will now give some typical examples of 
both varieties, emphasizing the key phrases and, 
where necessary, giving a brief interpretation. 

First of all, let us take the Greek myth of Perseus 
and his slaying of Medusa, the Gorgon. 

It will be recalled that Medusa was one of the 
three sisters (the three stages in the process), whose 
head was covered with writhing serpents (the 
constantly shifting activity of the conscious mind). 
Perseus' mission was to kill (still) the Gorgon by 
cutting off her head - the idea of such sacrifice 
symbolising the active effort required to quieten the 
internal dialogue of the conscious mind. Anyone 
who looked upon Medusa directly was turned to 
stone - another frequently used symbol for the 
ordinary consciousness. To fulfil his task, Perseus 
looked at her reflection (emblem of meditation) in 



Body, Soul and Spirit 


the highly polished surface of his shield (again, the 
mirror as a symbol of the process), and approached 
her walking backwards (reversing the normal flow of 
attention from outward to inward). His reward for 
fulfilling this heroic duty was the Golden Apples of 
Hespirides - symbols of the completed process, the 
'gold' of the successful alchemist. 

Whether or not the story of the Flood, as depicted 
in the Book of Genesis, actually occurred, is of little 
consequence, although archaeological research has 
indicated evidence of an inundation which could 
correspond with the story, along the Euphrates and 
dating around 4,000 BC. Whatever the truth, the 
writer of Genesis used unmistakably allegorical 
motifs and key ideas which are repeated in many 
other parts of the Bible and elsewhere by Hermetic 
authors. 

As I have already indicated, the mental process was 
allegorized by some writers as a long and dangerous 
voyage - and the story of Noah is no exception. The 
lengthy time required for the process is symbolised 
by Noah, his family and menagerie being afloat for 
forty days and nights. This is also emphasised by 
repeating the same period for the length of time the 
heavens rained down to flood the earth. (Elsewhere 
in the Bible, we read of the Israelites wandering in 
the wilderness - the desolate symbol of the 
subconscious - for forty years; of Joseph embalming 
his father, which took forty days; Moses being upon 
Mount Sinai for forty days, and of Jonah predicting 
the overthrow of Nineveh within forty days, to give 
only a few examples.) 

The word 'ark' itself is of some significance. 
Hermetic writers, it should be noted, frequently 
employed puns or phonetic similarities, a device 
which can transcend any limitation of language. One 
phonetic equivalent of 'ark', for example, is 'argha', 
an Ayro-Hindu root word, signifying reflected light. 
The animals aboard Noah's ark, one of each, male 





168 • RAPID EYE 1 



Anti-alchemical pamphlet 

and female, represent not only the generative power 
of the mind, but the balance of sexual polarities - 
often depicted in alchemical texts by the Androgyne. 

Noah's ark had three decks (stages of the process) 
and, after the requisite long and dangerous voyage, 
Noah sent out firstly a raven - a black bird, symbol 
of the nigredo, or 'blackening' stage of the 
alchemical process, when the ever moving thoughts 
of the conscious mind are successfully stilled. Next, a 
dove, a white bird, symbol of the 'albedo', or 
purification stage, was sent out three times. It did 
not return on the third occasion, indicating to Noah 
that there was dry land - symbolic of the fact that 
the Hermetic process is completed after the third 
stage. This is further pointed up by the appearance 
of a rainbow - a step frequently referred to as the 
'tail of the peacock’ in alchemical texts. The third 
and final stage, the 'rubedo' or reddening, is 
represented by the fire on Noah's altar of thanks¬ 
giving. 

As I have indicated, there are literally countless 
other examples of allegory of the Hermetic process 
in both sacred and secular literature, aside from the 
overtly alchemical texts themselves. It is even 
demonstrable that occasionally non-initiates transmit 
the key symbols and phrases of the process 
unconsciously: an example, perhaps, of Jung's theory 
of eternal archetypes which recur in the unconscious 
mentation of people down the ages. 

I have no evidence, for example, that the writer 
Anatole France was a Hermeticist. Yet nonetheless, 
he recounts a distinctly Hermetic allegory in his short 
story Le Jongleur De Notre Dame. Basically, it's the 
story of a poor juggler, Barnaby, who on Fair days, 
would put on a show throwing six copper balls in 


the air and catching them with his feet or, with his 
body arched around the shape of a perfect wheel, he 
would juggle a dozen knives. Barnaby was taken in 
by a monk who felt sorry for him. All the monastery 
fathers devoted their lives to the service of the 
Blessed Virgin. Some wrote scholarly treatises, others 
painted or sculpted, composed hymns or wrote 
poems. The illiterate juggler, who could not even say 
the prayers, became downcast because he could not 
participate in the worship - until he discovered a 
way of his own to show his devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin. Daily, he retired to a deserted chapel, where 
he stayed for one hour. When the Prior and two 
older monks, having become curious, watched him 
furtively, they saw him before the altar, head 
downwards with his feet in the air, juggling six balls 
and a dozen knives. Just as they were about to 
interrupt this "sacrilegious performance", they saw 
the image of the Virgin descend the altar steps and, 
with a fold of her azure robe, wipe the sweat from 
Barnaby's forehead. The Prior and monks 
immediately prostrated themselves and said: "Blessed 
are the simple-hearted, for they shall see God". 

Some of the Hermetic clues are emphasized in the 
above summary. Copper, for example, is the metal 
associated with Venus who, like the Virgin, is a 
symbol of inward reflection. The arching of 
Barnaby's body "in the shape of a perfect wheel" 
refers to the circular nature of the Hermetic 
contemplative process - reversing the thoughts. The 
juggler, another archetypal figure like the "jongleur" 
of the medieval Tarot decks, is unlike the others and 
discovers a way of his own. In other words, he is a 
seeker who has stumbled upon the key to the system 
of meditation, which he practices for one hour each 
day in the deserted chapel (of his mind). 

His posture, head down and feet in the air, recalls 
yet another Tarot symbol, 'The Hanged Man’ (Atu 
12), which again evokes the reversal of the thought 
process from outward to inward, as in proper 
meditation. 

The approving act of the Virgin, wiping the sweat 
from Barnaby's brow is also significant: sweat and 
dew are popular symbols in the Hermetic canon of 
the concentration and effort of singularly directed 
attention required. Readers of Fulcanelli's Le Mysore 
Des Cath4drales may now recall, perhaps with a wry 
smile, Eugene Canseliet's reference to a letter which 
Fulcanelli constantly carried around with him, which 
was stained with sweat “from the heat of the 
furnace“\ 

Students will find literally hundreds of examples of 
Hermetic allegory explained and delineated in the 
already mentioned Hermes Unveiled by Roy Norvill 
and its sequels, The Language Of The Gods and The 
Golden Understanding, which I have read in 
manuscript. 

It will also become possible, once the reader has a 
familiar grasp of the range of symbolism, to discover 
one's own examples in the most unlikely places. 
Even, believe it or not, in such works as Stevenson's 
Treasure Island - or even in the occasional movie 













ALCHEMY • 169 


plot, where the screenwriter has (probably 
unwittingly) picked up and repeated a classic 
Hermetic theme. 

Despite the tendency of the alchemists to be 
'grudging' about giving away the Great Secret, there 
are also quite explicit outlines of the Hermetic 
process. Among the best, perhaps, are the 
Wilhelm-Jung translation and commentary on the 
ancient Chinese classic, The Secret Of The Golden 
Flower, and Dr. Paul Brunton's The Secret Path, The 
Quest Of The Over-self and their sequels. I cannot 
recommend them strongly enough for study towards 
a full grasp of the meditative process prescribed. 

So, what is the process, precisely? In essence, it 
sounds and should be easy. And yet, there are vital 
elements of it which, in practice, are probably the 
most difficult of achievement in man's entire 
experience. 

Which is why, no doubt, we are not overpopulated 
with enlightened initiates and adepts. 

The first requirement is the total cessation of 
conscious, objective thought. It is the turning inward 
of the conscious attention of everyday, an inner 
reflection towards the real "I", the real "me" inside. 
The "me" that was there when the individual first 
became sentient and which is the only element of 
the entire human makeup, if you think about it, 
which does not change throughout our entire 
lifetime. The outer personality, the superficial ego, of 
course, is changed and conditioned and modified as 
life goes on. And the entire experience of outward 
life is geared to delude the individual that this 
outward ego is the real self - the so-called 
personality. It is not. And this can be proved by 
experimental psychology in which, through other 
forms of brainwashing - sensory deprivation for 
example - can utterly destroy the objective 
personality and replace it with one which is 
completely different. 

It is the real, inner "I" which Dr. Paul Brunton, 
borrowing from the Hindu Atman, has called the 
Over-self. It is where pure thought comes from: 
inspiration, intuition, higher knowledge and genuine 
seership. 

The Bhagavad Gita alludes to it: "He who thinkest 
constantly of me will always find me: I will at all 
times be easily found by a constant devotion to me." 

If the conscious mind, with its incessant internal 
dialogue, its easily distracted nature, its constant 
outward-looking irregularity and capriciousness, can 
be stilled, the attention can then be focused intently 
inward, like a laser beam. A simple analogy may give 
the idea of the concentration of attention required. 

Suppose you are in a building which is, to your 
knowledge, totally deserted and miles from 
anywhere - and reputedly haunted. As you walk 
through this place you hear, quite distinctly, a 
human footstep, or a voice. Immediately, you freeze 
- and your entire attention is immediately directed 
to that sound. 

This highly concentrated mode of thought - like 
the 'sword' or 'spear' so often used in Hermetic 



symbolism - can then impinge upon the inner mind, 
the Eternal "I" within. (And it was at this point, it 
would seem to me, that Jung faltered or, it may be, 
halted. For him, it appears, the confrontation of the 
conscious mind with the unconscious, with all its 
inner gods and demons and a coming to terms with 
them, was the final aim of his therapy: a sort of 
laundromat-of-the-psyche process.) 

For the Alchemist or Hermeticist, it was merely the 
beginning. There, in the inner reaches of the 
normally inaccessible subconscious mind - and the 
'superconscious' might no doubt be a better 
description - the successful adept gained access to 
what he called Higher Knowledge. How? 

Well, Jung almost postulated the same thing, too, 
but perhaps thought it might have sounded too 
'occult' had he spelled it out fully. He termed it the 
'Collective Unconscious'. Again, maybe a better term 
might be the Universal Consciousness. A great 
timeless network of knowledge, there to be tapped 
by those who know how - what the Theosophists 
and others have called the Akashic Record, Teilhard 
de Chardin labelled the 'noosphere' and Steiner 'the 
psychosphere'. 

Absurd? Impossible? There is, I suppose, only one 
way to test the validity of this proposition: practice. 






170 • RAPID EYE 1 



The Achievement of the Work 


Set aside a period each day, absolutely free from 
distraction or interruption. It should ideally be the 
same time each day and in the same place. Half- 
an-hour or, at most, an hour a day should suffice. 

Once having relaxed the body, try to think of the 
real 'me' inside; the place from which your thoughts 
originate and emanate. Try to think how you think. 
While you are letting your mind dwell upon this 'me' 
inside, you cannot think of anything else. You have, 
in effect, successfully stopped all other random 
thoughts - which is the great bugbear of all who 
attempt meditation. 

The state cannot be held for long - except after a 
great deal of practice and effort. This is the crux of 
the Hermetic secret: the transmission of 
consciousness to a third and enhanced state by 
means of prolonged and carefully directed 
meditation. 

Despite all the efforts of alchemists and other 
esotericists to keep the 'secret' - the general fear 
being that, in the wrong hands, the power it 
bestows could be abused - the secret in fact 
continues to protect itself, for two main reasons: 

1. It is virtually impossible to convince anyone that 
the mind can be enhanced or altered, merely by 
thinking of the eternal T inside - and utter, 
absolute, unshakeable conviction and dedicated 
application are essential for a successful outcome. 

2. If one tries to prove the process, by pointing out 
the keys to Hermetic allegory in the Bible or any 
other sacred and secular source, as both Roy Norvill 
and myself have tried, there is immediate rejection 
and prejudice in the minds of most people; minds 
conditioned by eighteen or nineteen centuries of 
indoctrination. 

Scepticism notwithstanding, here now is Dr. Paul 
Brunton’s description of the three stages of the 
process, as given in The Quest For The Overself (Rider 
& Co., 1937): 


"The value of the prescribed spiritual practices may 
now be better appreciated, for it may be said that 
the habit of daily introspection eventually enables 
one to cultivate during moments of mental quiet a 
condition of reverie closely akin to a dream. If the 
introspection is profound enough, the dream 
condition is perfectly reproduced. This is not to say 
that one has entered a region of mere phantasy. On 
the contrary, in this state one experiences oneself 
and one's thoughts to be at least as real as they 
seem during waking external existence. So clear and 
connected does this condition become with practice, 
that the vague and fitful dreams during sleep of the 
average person will bear no comparison. Only those 
who have experienced dreams of the highest degree 
of vividness, wherein everything seemed to partake 
of the nature of utmost reality, can appreciate the 
condition in which the meditator, profoundly 
wrapped in his abstractions, finds himself. 

"But this is only the first stage, although it may 
represent a result reached only after many years of 
effort. The next stage of advance along the path 
brings one during these practices to a blissful 
condition akin to that of deep dreamless slumber, 
but with this essential difference - one experiences 
all the bliss, the lingering peace with which he 
emerges from profound dreamless slumber, but 
experiences it in full self-awareness throughout the 
period of practice. This is, of course, a very advanced 
stage along the path and may be reached only after 
years. 

“The third stage of the path is represented by the 
lamp. [Brunton's own analogy of the Universal 
Mind], In this part, one transcends the condition 
corresponding to deep sleep and instead of sensing 
the beautiful presence of the Overself as a thing 
apart, in whose rays one basks, one becomes the 
light itself. There is then no need to continue these 
practices for the goal has been reached..." 

Of course, knowing about the Hermetic process, 
having unravelled all the allegories, and successfully 
putting it into practice to the stage of fulfilment, are 
two totally different things. 

As recounted in my book, the late Jacques Bergier 
in 1937 met a mysterious stranger whom he became 
convinced was the alchemist known as Fulcanelli. 

Towards the end of their conversation, 'Fulcanelli' 
told him: "The vital thing is not transmutation of 
metals, but that of the experimenter himself. It is an 
ancient secret that a few people rediscover each 
century. " 

"And what happened to them?" Bergier asked. 
"Perhaps I shall know, one day." 

And perhaps the "peace which passeth under¬ 
standing", as expressed by St. Paul, might have been 
better rendered as "the peace which comes when 
the conscious mind has been by-passed"... 

















"BRAZIL" 



Simon Dwyer 


Britain is not a free country. In this special investigation, Rapid Eye tells you why. 

"MAN IS BORN FREE. THAT IS HIS NATURAL STATE. HIS GOD-GIVEN RIGHT. 
NOWHERE IS THIS TRADITION MORE DEEPLY ROOTED THAN IN BRITAIN. OFTEN, IN 
OUR LONG HISTORY, WE HAVE STOOD ALONE, FACING THE MIGHTIEST ARMIES OF 
THE WORLD TO DEFEND OUR FREEDOM, SOMETIMES AT TREMENDOUS SACRIFICE 
- NEVER DOUBTING THAT THE PRICE IS WORTH PAYING. FREEDOM HAS BEEN 
BOTH OUR STRENGTH AND OUR BATTLE-CRY. WE ARE A PROUD NATION OF 
INDIVIDUALS. WE FLOURISH UNDER FREEDOM." 

—Tory Election Broadcast (May 1987) 


"And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee..." 

—John Donne (1610) 


"From the age of restriction, from the age of secrets, from the age of lies - 
greetings!" 

—George Orwell (1948) 


Ask people what it is that they most like about living 
in Britain and invariably one word will crop up: 
"Freedom". 

Most of us like to think that we live in a society 
that allows a far greater degree of individual 
freedom than anywhere else. For all our faults, that 
element of freedom is what - we are told - makes 


Britain 'great'. 

The idea is nonsense. Despite the Newspeak put 
about by Saatchi & Saatchi, British people are not 
free. We never have been. What is more, the few 
freedoms that we have traditionally enjoyed in the 
past are now being eroded at an alarming rate. 
Under a veil of State secrecy, cynical political 



172 • RAPID EYE 1 


manoeuvring, media control and socially engineered 
public apathy. 

The infringements of the State into the private, 
personal life of the individual are usually subtle and 
- due to our conditioning - barely perceived as 
being intrusive at all. When each infringement is 
viewed singly, it is normally not considered 
something worth bothering about - a mild irritant 
that can be tolerated without too much hardship. It 
is often not until the individual strays far from the 
popular path of social acceptability that one is 
forced to turn and face reality, forced to realise that 
the sum total of minor irritants, bad laws and 
corrupt practices congeal to present a frightening 
whole. In reality, a labyrinth of social and legal 
diversions stand around the kernel of Individual 
Freedom which we are supposed to hold so dear. 

As most people proudly consider themselves to be 
'normal' members of some unspecified majority, the 
question of Freedom is not something thought 
worthy of serious popular consideration. For most, 
the rhetoric is enough. Attacks on one's civil liberties 
thus pass, for the most part, unchallenged. 
Sometimes, through a clever use of the news media, 
they are actually lauded, being presented to the 
public as pieces of legislation that will make our 
community a safer, more wholesome place to live. 
Such a sophisticated exercise of control only comes 
from a great deal of practice. In this area, few other 
nations are as experienced, or as expert as Britain. 
And it is this ability - the ability to keep people 
oppressed yet contented, rather than to make 
people more free - that is what in reality has made 
Britain 'great'. 

There has never been a full scale revolution in 
Britain, as through a deft mixture of camouflage and 
persuasion - peppered liberally with buzzwords such 
as 'Democracy', 'Justice' and 'Patriotism' - the control 
of the State has been presented as being universally 
benign and a practical necessity. Put simply, there 
has been nothing tangible enough to revolt against. 
In this century, the country has never had anything 
as openly dictatorial or corrupt as a Hitler, Stalin or 
Marcos to identify with the oppression and target 
such revolution against (though it is interesting to 
note that the only peacetime Prime Minister in 
British history to have had a serious assassination 
attempt made against them is Margaret Thatcher). In 
Britain, the State machine is more oily and silent 
running. Here, it is more often the case that the 
enemies of freedom are faceless bureaucrats, 
lethargic institutions and two-faced politicians. 

In any society, the argument runs, this treasured 
concept of Personal Freedom must be hedged in 
with other considerations and compromises. 
Sacrifices must be made for 'the greater good'. 
Officially, 'freedom', (always somehow considered a 
concept rather than a practical reality) is simply a 
question of degree, and in a democratic society the 
amount of freedom an individual has is ostensibly 
dictated by the majority. 

If an individual member of that majority is 


encouraged to remain ill-informed about the 
limitations of his freedom, he will be unable to 
extend those freedoms in his personal life. His choice 
will be controlled, as will its outcome. If he wishes to 
choose an entirely different path, he will discover 
that no such alternative exists within the framework 
of this society. Immediately, by not making his 
controlled choice, he will become a social outcast to 
some extent. He will be labelled as being selfish, 
subversive, criminal or insane. 

In a country that has resisted radical change and 
quashed revolt, even the word 'revolution' (so loved 
in many countries), equates with violence, pseudo- 
intellectualism and oddness. Words which are the 
antithesis of Britain's self-image. Revolution, even if 
carried out peacefully in films, literature, or in the 
mind, (rather than on the streets) can be considered 
a treasonous act. And it is not surprising to find that 
treason remains the ultimate crime and the only one 
- in theory at least - that is still punishable by death. 

In a society so blind to the everyday facts and 
bedazzled by the ancient myth, even to address the 
topic of Individual Freedom in a manner such as this 
is to invite criticism and misinterpretation. Yet it is 
these potential critics, who in all probability claim to 
be concerned about Law & Order, Freedom & Justice, 
Peace & Happiness etc., who should be those people 
who are most interested in ensuring that the people 
of this 'great' country are governed by just laws 
which are implemented fairly within a humane 
society. A society that pays more than lip service to 
the ideals of democracy, equality and personal 
liberty which it purports to champion. 

In the 'alternative' culture it's fashionable, even 
essential, to claim that the 'system' is so unworthy it 
isn't worth thinking about; that all politicians are 
ego maniacs; that the police are universally corrupt 
and Fascistic; that all journalists are liars and so on, 
ad nauseam. Such criticisms are usually carried out by 
people who've never printed their own magazine, 
never made a subversive video, never done anything, 
in fact, but consume the products that the State 
produces and condones. Acned youngsters with £30 
haircuts are keen to fall, lemming-like, into 
generation gaps created by a succession of stupid 
young (and not-so-young) men in leather jackets, 
whose bounty from this bottomless mine (gold 
records, coke, limitless penicillin) is also the main 
motivation for their sanitised form of revolt. It is no 
accident that rock'n'roll is now being embraced by 
Russia, China, and other societies which operate a 
high level of control. Contrary to the myths put 
about by numerous dullards in the 1960s and late 
1970s, although music can be used to express and 
refine certain attitudes, as a revolutionary weapon, 
or information channel, it is usually about as much 
use as a lightbulb to Stevie Wonder. 

In social terms, the pop placebo is a good method 
of keeping society visibly healthy, transmuting 
disenchantment and real social disquiet from the 
Problematic to the Profitable. State control and rock 
and roll are run by clever men. Feelings of alienation 



“BRAZIL 









Big Sister (courtesy The Independent) 




174 • RAPID EYE 1 


caused by repression are absorbed and turned into 
escapism in the land of Entertainment. In the Coke 
generation social reality is made to look boring. 
Information on how things really are is made to look 
stupendously boring. Here though, we intend to 
present a pellet of information - slug death to the 
hedonist - which makes no apologies for being 
chock-a-block with dull fact. Only by using the 
dialect of 'Control', the language of the Law and the 
hard currency of Information, can we hope to 
present the current situation as it really is. Or at 
least, go as far as official records, Hansard, The 
Times, the BBC etc. admit that it really is. The facts 
speak for themselves. This is how we live in this free 
country in the late 1980s. 

Anyone who doubts any of the incidents and facts 
reported here is encouraged to check them out 
independently. In so doing they will find that this 
informational collage represents but a drop in the 
ocean. All we can hope to do here is convey a sense 
of the whole, horrible truth. 

Although the excessive levels of control which 
presently operate cannot be laid at the door of any 
single political party; although the 'system' is 
obviously flawed in that it apparently lacks the 
capacity to successfully reconcile the rights of the 
individual with the supposed wishes of the majority, 
Britain's current crisis (and I use the word advisedly), 
is partly brought about by the attitude of the 
present government. A government which reflects 
the age in which we live. An age in which 'freedom' 
has been edited, limited and re-defined to mean the 
'freedom' individuals and companies now have to 
compete more ruthlessly with others on a purely 
economic level. 

To be fair, we do have certain new rights under 
this present regime. The right to own a Telecom 
phone all of our own, but not the right to express 
feelings that detract from the dominant ideology of 
the State. The right to buy council houses, but not 
the right to expect employment. The right to buy a 
share in British Airways, but not the right to be 
educated properly by the State... 

These are uncertain times. Brought about indirectly 
by the social and economic failures of the country 
since the war. In such a climate, many unimaginative 
people in the political arena have been persuaded to 
abandon even the pretence of consensus politics, 
consultation and moderation. So dispensing with the 
need for debate, freedom of information, and the 
recognition of equality that goes hand in hand with 
such old-fashioned ideas. 

It seems that the British people have been largely 
conned into believing that the sins of their fathers - 
the relative liberalism and over-indulgences of the 
'50s and '60s - have been visited upon them, the 
children. The blackouts, shortages and strikes of the 
'70s and the mass unemployment, riots and new 
diseases of the '80s have strengthened their belief 
that we must have 'strong' leaders, and restrictive 
laws, in order to fight such menaces and mount 
some yellowbrick road to 'recovery'. The climate is 


one of guilt and retribution. Dr. Benway's medicine 
must be gulped down if you want to keep that job, 
that mortgage, that veneer of success. So we, the 
compliant majority, allow ourselves to be ruled by a 
tiny dictatorial minority with an iron fist in a velvet 
glove. The boots may be Gucci, but they're stamping 
on our faces just the same. 

In this silent, submissive age, it seems that public 
resistance decreases as oppression increases. Our 
tolerance goes up and up in a never-ending spiral. 
So with each bullet fired from a police gun, less 
uproar is heard. Because the more bullets fired, the 
more restrictive laws passed, the more frequent the 
acts of repression - the older the news, the less 
interested and concerned we become. And our 
training, highlighted by our age-old acceptance of 
such ridiculous things as the Sunday Trading and 
Licensing Laws, has stood us in good stead for the 
current swing against libertarianism and attacks on 
civil rights. 

In the face of an increasingly polarised political 
left and right wing, the fundamentally civilised, 
moderate and caring quality of life desired by the 
silent majority looks more and more impossible to 
attain. While all the time the organisational 
machinery of the State rumbles on like a Chieftain 
tank, oblivious to any instruction that does not 
emanate from the Downing Street. This would not 
be so if Britain had adequate safeguards as enjoyed 
by other countries. 

A BILL OF RIGHTS IN A STATE OF WRONGS 
In 1215 King John signed Magna Carta, a charter 
which gave the individual Englishman the right to 
fair trial and protection from arbitrary arrest and 
imprisonment. Thus the concept of 'individual 
freedom' was lodged into the psyche of what history 
has shown, in some ways, to have been the most 
advanced social structure on the planet. Ever since, 
as was pointed out earlier, this vague idea of 
Freedom has swilled around the neurological 
backwaters of the collective British unconscious mind 
to be used and abused at will throughout 
subsequent generations. 

Thus Nazi Germany was fought as it was seen as 
being against all that Britain said she stood for. The 
Nazis were anti-freedom, anti-democracy and 
anti-Christ. Co-incidentally, just the same set of 
reasons given later for the vilification of our allies 
against Nazis, the U.S.S.R. And thus, the General 
Election campaign of 1979 - a full 764 years after 
Magna Carta -this ancient freedom factor, by now 
almost akin to an Arthurian legend, was invoked by 
the black magical advertising executives employed by 
the Tories (just as it was in 1983 and 1987). 

Wantonly wrapping herself in the Union Jack, a 
latterday Boadicea born very much from the 
'Jerusalem' school of English thought, stood on a 
platform of 'Personal Freedom' and pitted herself 
against what was depicted as being the Socialist's 
platform of 'state interference'. She promised to set 
people free with jobs (Arbeit Macht Frei) and "To 




“BRAZIL” • 175 


make Britain strong enough to give the individual 
citizen more freedom of choice." Appealing to an 
almost genetic instinct (like Franco and Hitler), 
Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister on 
the 3rd May 1979. Britain, we were told, was about 
to be set free. 

Not surprisingly, the politicians lied. The reality has 
not matched the pre-election rhetoric. Since the 
Thatcher administration came to power, voted in by 
11 million of the 56,488,000 people who live in the 
U.K., the practice of increasing the individual's 
personal freedom has included some apparently 
incongruous actions, which we will investigate here. 

What Thatcher did not make clear was that her 
idea of 'freedom' was highly selective, and in 
creating the greater economic freedoms of the rich 
to get richer, a certain amount of morality had to be 
dispensed with. For when market forces are 
unleashed, there will inevitably be fall-out. The 
'losers' in this new system who cannot compete will 
no longer be looked after by society. Welfare rights 
take a backseat, so social conflict, class polarisation, 
dissatisfaction and even crime are encouraged. So a 
strong disciplinary regime is an accompanying 
necessity when one enters the era of the Free 
Market. The State intervenes less in financial matters 
(as people are encouraged to sink or swim on their 
own) but interferes far more in other areas. 

Since the Tories came to power, Britain has 
witnessed the introduction of random police 
roadblocks, strip searches in women's prisons, a 
removal of the right to be tried by jury, bans on the 
right to protest, restrictions on Trade Union 
Membership and their rights to strike and picket the 
abolition of democratically elected local councils, a 
rise in censorship, a plethora of new laws involving 
the media, an enormous increase in the powers of 
the police and courts. Customs and Excise, and 
officers of the DHSS to search and snoop without 
warrants and to incarcerate in prisons and hospitals 
without an individual being found guilty of any 
crime or social defect. 

The continued calls for an adequate Freedom of 
Information Act, genuine reform of the Official 
Secrets Act, and demands for a Bill of Rights have all 
been largely ignored, or not properly implemented. 

As one will see, the list is long. It could be far 
longer. One safeguard against this unpleasant trend 
continuing would be constitutional. Britain does not 
have a written Constitution that protects or 
recognises the rights of the Individual. 

A Constitutional Bill of Rights is a permanent 
charter that, in many countries, is in itself more 
important than any transient law or passing 
government. Its sole purpose is to recognise the 
Individual and his or her rights as a human being, 
and to protect those basic rights from the misuse of 
State power, be it from extremist left or rightwing 
governments, their police and courts, or the 
Monarchy. Britain does not, and never has had a Bill 
of Rights. In this sense, in the free world, we're rare. 
(Even countries who didn't enjoy a written 


constitution while under British rule have drawn 
them up since independence. The last 
Commonwealth country to do so was Canada in 
1982. If Australia becomes a Republic, as seems likely, 
it is almost certain that their first constitutional 
changes will be connected to drawing-up a Bill of 
Rights. In freeing themselves from what many states 
formerly in the Empire think of as the British yoke of 
oppression, it is natural for new, independent 
countries to base their constitution on something 
that has been denied them for centuries. The British 
people, unfortunately, cannot benefit in this way as 
we are one of the relatively few countries not to be 
a Republic. What was once the genuine oppression 
of the British Empire, is now confined to being the 
British constitutional oppression of the British 
people. We are, as British subjects, punished by our 
ancestor's history). 

A Human Rights Bill for the British people was 
introduced by Sir Edward Gardner QC in 1986. It 
went through the Lords, helped by Lords Scarman, 
Hailsham and Broxbourne. Although a hardcore of 
reactionary MPs and civil servants opposed it, the 
Government did not wish to be seen to officially 
oppose the Bill. Strangely, however, they did not 
officially support it either. It was also arranged 
through Parliamentary processes for the vote on the 
Bill to be made late on a Friday afternoon, (30th 
January 1987). A strategic time, when most MPs will 
already be on their way back to their far-flung 
constituencies after the weeks usual Parliamentary 
business. It is indicative of the Government's true 
attitude, and of all political parties' set of priorities, 
that (unlike when an 'important' Bill is voted on) no 
party whips were in operation. MPs were thus freed 
by their parties not to attend the House of Commons 
when the Bill was read. 

Although, for the first time, politicians were given 
an opportunity to make British people more 
tangibly, legally 'free' than ever before in their 
history, only a paltry 20% of them turned up to vote. 
Some of those who did appear wanted to vote 
against it, but it didn't matter. With such a low 
turn-out a Bill cannot even get through to its Second 
Reading, necessary to make it law. Had the Bill gone 
to the Second Reading stage, it's widely thought 
that the government would have blocked it anyway, 
but that's hardly the point. Although millions of 
British servicemen over the years have died for an 
abstract sense of Freedom, when the real crunch 
came, politicians simply couldn't be bothered. 

So as things stand, British people are open to 
abuses of power that would be illegal in countries 
such as, for example, France or the U.S.A. We are 
prey to practically anything dreamt up by puritanical 
governments, tyrannical local authorities and senile 
judges. 

Our only recourse, as Europeans, is to take any 
complaint we have to the European Court of Human 
Rights in Strasbourg, an astronomically expensive 
and time-consuming process. 

Contrary to popular opinion, the European Court 




176 • RAPID EYE 1 


itself has shown recently that it is less ready to risk 
offending individual member governments by 
applying the European Convention of Human Rights 
and finding for the complainant, particularly in the 
case of Britain who is the most persistent offender in 
the European Court; the country which already has 
the least 'European' outlook; and is the second 
largest financial contributor to the community 
budget. 

So, as things stand, any British Government riding 
in on the blatantly unfair electoral system which we 
operate, awards itself a 'mandate' from the entire 
population, so it can do whatever it likes. Providing 
they have a large enough majority in Parliament, 
there is nothing to stop them passing any weird laws 
they wish. Indeed, it is because the present 
government has been so liberal in its interpretation 
of the people's mandate that so many laws which 
are alien to the British way of life have been swept 
through. 

Of course, not all governmental actions are 
intrusive to Personal Liberties, but a written Bill of 
Rights would provide us with a catch-all, basic set of 
rights that would stop all manner of unjust things 
happening to millions of people throughout this 
country. That such a Bill would be popular with the 
British people is not open to question, so why do 
politicians continue to ignore the demands for such 
a piece of legislation? What, exactly, are they scared 
of? 

FREEDOM OF SPEECH 

The Oxford English Dictionary is surprisingly sparing 
and unhelpful when it comes to defining the word 
'Censorship', reflecting the belief that censorship and 
control in Britain is not a topic to be discussed. A 
censor, it seems, is either a Roman who collects data 
or, it says, a present-day official whose duty it is to 
ensure that "no books, journals, plays etc. contain 
anything immoral, heretical or offensive to the 
government." 

In a sophisticated, well-educated, supposedly 'free' 
society, the needs for censorship are, to say the least, 
somewhat dubious. But nevertheless, censorship 
remains rife in Britain, and is now on the increase. 

'Control' is self-perpetuating because even when 
the practical need to exercise control has 
disappeared or become questionable, the desires to 
assume control, and to be controlled, remain. So 
basically any form of Authority, however out-moded, 
useless or corrupt it may be is bound to protect 
itself. Protect its authority. Otherwise it would, by 
definition, cease to exist. Censorship is in this sense 
just a bureaucratic version of the survival instinct. 

As with all forms of bureaucracy, it is snowed in 
with confusion, over-justification and triplicated 
humbug. The reasoning behind it is said to be 
complex. In fact, censorship is quite easy to 
understand. It is simply the policy of cutting-off the 
individual's right to express certain opinions, ideas, 
desires, concepts and impulses which the State 
believe may have the capacity to undermine its 


authority. Its power. (And it seems in Britain that if 
power is wonderful, absolute power is absolutely 
wonderful.) 

The key word of the censorious is information. If 
you carefully restrict and regulate its collection, 
presentation and dissemination, the edited and 
corrupted information which you implant into the 
Information Exchange systems of the mass media 
becomes the only currency. In a country absolutely 
obsessed with its media, it becomes truth. The Truth. 

Remember. Information is power. The sharing of 
information is the sharing of power. 

In this light, the concept of censorship in a free, 
democratic society just does not stand up to scrutiny. 
The practice of censorship in an unfree, un¬ 
democratic society is, however, absolutely essential. 
In a country like Britain, censorship may be less 
obtrusive than in more blatantly dictatorial nations 
(partly because we find the idea of it so natural and 
acceptable), but make no mistake, our system 
requires the use of censorship if it is to continue to 
exist in its present form. It is a practical necessity. If 
this were not the case our government, supposedly 
keen to cut costs, reduce red tape and unclog our 
courts would have abolished the costly and 
cumbersome legal systems that surround censorship 
long ago. Surely? 

Isolation, dissatisfaction and crime are encouraged 
if an individual, or minority group of individuals, are 
denied access to the rights enjoyed by the majority. 
It is an essential basic freedom for each individual to 
be allowed to gain access to information and 
education, entertainment and stimulation, in any 
advanced society that seriously claims to be 'free'. In 
such societies, people have a right to read published 
works that may enrich their existence in some way, 
and the right to form educated opinions based on 
such works, plus the right to express those opinions 
within a lifestyle that suits them. Equally, people 
who attach themselves to groups of other people 
who happen to feel the same way about life as they 
do, should be able in a free country to find out 
about the history, culture and shared experience of 
such a group. 

At this point, one should forget the newspeak 
definition of 'freedom' and put aside petty 
prejudices. Freedom could, more fairly, be defined as 
a simple recognition of people's rights, including, 
most importantly, their right to be wrong. Their 
right to choose. This is the most unpalatable 
definition of freedom that governments can hear, 
for obvious reasons. 

The fact that various 'minority groups' 
interpretations of life do not conform to those held 
by the majority should not affect such basic human 
rights. Specifically, the right to seek happiness. 
Providing their opinions and actions do not deny 
equal rights to other individuals, it is only natural 
justice that is being served if they are left to go their 
own way. 

In Britain, a populist theologically dubious set of 
'Christian' morals and customs are lodged at the 


“BRAZIL” • 177 


heart of the State system (even though only about 
4% of the population are Christian church-goers on 
a regular basis and do, themselves, form a minority). 
These largely corrupted pseudo-Christian values, as 
interpreted by the State, allow for any level of 
interference to be applied to the personal, usually 
private lives of individuals who choose not to 
conform to the narrow moral codes of the assumed 
majority. 

The most obvious consistent target of the 'moral' 
majority are homosexuals; particularly, in a male 
orientated society, homosexual men. Despite their 
relatively new found legality (in 1967) and general 
social acceptability, the British State, it seems, can't 
quite bring itself to recognise their rights of 
expression, or the rights of any perceived 'minority 
group'. 

Why else would police raid the offices of Toshanex 
Ltd., and seize gay books and titles such as William 
Burroughs’ Junky, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by 
Hunter Thompson, and works by writers such as Tom 
Wolfe which are in current use as University texts? 

In a quite recent series of raids, bookshops in 
several other locations have been raided in similarly 
heavy-handed fashion. As a result, many people have 
been criminalised and brought to trial for a number 
of offences - though inconsistencies often appear 
between one part of the country and the next. For 
example, magistrates in Nottingham ruled that some 
titles brought before them by police in court were 
not obscene, while, at the same time, police in 
London continued to hold copies of the same books 
from raids in the Metropolitan area under the 
Obscene Publications Act. 

Titles published by such reputable firms as Pan, 
Corgi, Penguin, Granada and the Harvard University 
Press were included in the seizures, but it is 
interesting to note that not one of these established 
publishers was actually brought to trial. Smaller 
companies, who could not afford teams of solicitors 
and whose prosecution would not attract the same 
amount of publicity - such as Airlift Books - were, 
however, charged with offenses such as "having 
obscene articles for publication for gain". They were 
also charged with "conspiracy to incite offences" 
under the Misuse of Drugs Act, for stocking such 
books as the aforementioned Burroughs number. All 
this, despite the fact that many of the books 
involved were openly on sale in High Street shops all 
over the country and the information relating to 
drugs therein could be found in any public reference 
library. The tenuous drugs connection was, in any 
case, thought by many to be a cover for the raids' 
real target - erotic literature (gasp). 

As in many other countries, access to such 
literature in Britain is limited to people over a 
certain age. In this country, people are free to legally 
indulge in sex at 16, but not allowed to read about 
sex until they are 18. Unlike other European 
countries, Britain licenses Sex Shops. Unlike many 
other European countries, it also stringently censors 
all the material available in such shops to the legally 


consenting adult customers who wish to buy such 
books. The annual license fee for each shop selling 
primarily sexually-related literature is £12,500 per 
year. (Despite police claims that a third of traffic 
accidents and nearly 50% of violent crime involves 
people who are drunk, this figure compares with the 
£10 average sum needed to licence a pub.) Many feel 
that the exorbitant licence fee required from Sex 
Shops amounts to unofficial prohibition of all 
sexually related material, despite the fact that such 
material has already been heavily censored, and is 
only available to adult customers. 

In June, 1984, 120 titles heading for the Feminist 
Book Fair were intercepted by H.M. Customs & Excise 
Officers. Books worth more than £1,600 on their way 
to the Essentially Gay Mailorder Company were also 
seized, and the company was forced to close. A 
parcel of books ordered by a general book shop, 
Balham Food & Book Co-Op was also stopped. Two 
thousand books were taken from Gay's The Word 
book store, and eight of the company's directors 
were brought to trial. Lavender Menace Ltd. of 
Edinburgh had two shipments of gay books seized, 
and London's Peace bookshop, Housmans, have also 
had material confiscated. Indeed, the list goes on 
and on. Britain's only licensed Gay bookshop - 
Zipper - has also been raided. 

No complaints about the books or the bookshops 
concerned in this series of raids had been received 
from members of the public. No figures are 
published giving the numbers of police and customs 
men involved in the operations, or giving details of 
how much court time and public money has been 
used on such cases over the past few years. Whatever 
the figures, they must be considered against a 
back-drop of supposedly spiralling street crime, 
over-worked courts and complaints from both the 
Police and Customs that they are seriously under¬ 
manned, particularly, for example, in the fight 
against the importation of hard drugs, which all 
claim to be their highest priority. 

In October 1986, a month in which new figures 
showed a further increase in the numbers of heroin 
addicts, police busied themselves with raiding the 
offices of Skin Two magazine, and also confiscated 
copies of the latest edition from news-stands around 
the capital. Despite the fact that the magazine is 
primarily fashion-orientated and has little in the way 
of erotic content, the Metropolitan Police still 
decided it worthy of persecution due to its S/M 
overtones (Fashion photos of women modelling high 
heels, leather skirts etc. Compare this to the situation 
that exists in Amsterdam, where a local S/M on¬ 
premises sex club is a respected member of the city's 
Chamber of Commerce.) 

It is interesting to note that since the current Tory 
administration has come to power, the law used to 
try many bookshops is not the Obscene Publications 
Act, but the more obscure Customs Consolidation 
Act, a law which came into force 111 years ago. 
Under this law - unlike the Obscene Publications Act 
- No book can be defended in court on the basis of 



178 • RAPID EYE 1 


its artistic or literary merit. (Very convenient). Some 
book companies have been charged with the more 
usual Obscene Publications Act. This law makes it an 
offence to produce any book which "may deprave or 
corrupt" an ordinary member of society. A charge 
that is in itself almost impossible to defend oneself 
against. In an extraordinary move, however, some 
booksellers have recently been charged and found 
guilty under this law for the publication of books 
which contained no violent or erotic content 
whatsoever, meaning, in effect, that the scope of the 
Obscene Publications Act has been widened by the 
Government and Courts, giving the police even 
greater opportunities for arrest, without consultation 
with the public or in the Houses of Parliament. 

Many feel that the way in which the present 
government has evoked ancient laws and 
encouraged the courts to re-interpret and increase 
the scope of others is typical of the unpublicised, 
underhand way in which people's individual 
freedoms are being eroded without debate, 
publicity, or the chance of protest. 

Other brand new laws inhibiting personal 
freedoms have, however, come in for a good deal of 
public criticism, despite efforts to confuse or distract 
the issues by the government's publicity machine at 
the time of such laws being pushed through 
Parliament and enforced. 

Under the notorious Video Recordings Act, all films 
put onto video now have to be re-submitted to the 
British Board of Film Censors for new classification. 
(Meaning that each movie shown at a cinema and 
also available on video has to be classified twice) It 
costs an average of £500 to have a film certificated 
by the censors. Films included in the new censorship 
net are Donald Duck cartoons. Hundreds of bona 
fide video rental shops have been vetted by the 
police. Thousands of tapes have been confiscated 
and not returned to their owners, including many 
titles which have B.B.F.C. 'X' or '18' certificates and 
which have been screened openly to cinema 
audiences. 

At this juncture, it should be remembered that 
despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary 
(claims which find an unquestioning outlet in both 
the popular press and pseudo-'feminist' women's 
magazines), no scientific evidence of a reputable 
nature has been produced to link acts of a violent 
sexual nature to video viewing. The Act itself was 
based on pseudo-research into children's viewing 
habits, and the effect of video watching on the 
'family unit' (commissioned independently by an 
extremist Christian organisation), which has since 
been proved to have been fabricated and 
exaggerated. Research that is so flawed and biased, 
that even the Catholic and Methodist churches have 
publicity dissociated themselves from it. Despite this 
fact, the Bill, which was lobbied for by The Festival 
of Light (who acted under a pseudonym at the time) 
remains law which directly affects everyone who uses 
a VCR (over half of all households in Britain) and 
inconveniences and wrongly criminalises many who 


seek to earn an honest living in the business of 
renting and manufacturing quite ordinary videos. 

Although a small number of criminals have claimed 
in mitigation to have been influenced by their 
viewing habits, these are in a tiny minority - a 
minority that has received excessive amounts of 
publicity from newspapers keen to sensationalise the 
issue and support the powerful and vociferous 
rightwing minority. It is no surprise to find that the 
papers which have given the most coverage to this 
topic are The Sun and The Sunday Times. As a result 
(as Dr Terence DuQuesne pointed out in a previous 
issue of Rapid Eye Movement magazine), a climate 
now exists in Britain where one is given a clearly 
defined choice between being seen to support "The 
Family/Law & Order/Godliness" or being seen to 
support "Moral breakdown/Crime/Sin". As in most 
totalitarian regimes, no middleground, no grey area 
of debate is perceived. The choice, as always, is 
limited. Not surprisingly, under this blackmail and 
pressure, most people in public positions or power, 
such as MPs, despite their personal reservations, 
want to be seen as being on the side of 'good', and 
allow such new pieces of legislation to pass 
unchallenged. Furthermore, to actively introduce 
legislation that seeks to repeal old laws, such as the 
Obscene Publications Act or Customs Consolidation 
Act, would be to stand up and be seen as being pro¬ 
pornography. 

As a result, Britain today goes against the 
liberalising trends of almost every other civilised 
nation on Earth. 

For example, many 'Catholic countries' around the 
world, who are often condescendingly portrayed in 
Britain as being strict and somehow old-fashioned, 
have no film or video censorship. Indeed, in Western 
Europe, the U.K. and Ireland are the only countries 
to have film censorship. In South America, post-junta 
Argentina moved into the 20th century when it 
abolished all its film censorship laws in 1984, just at 
the time when rejoicing, victorious, happy-and- 
glorious, 'free' Britain tightened its own laws and 
increased the powers of the courts and police to 
implement them. Italy, home of Vatican City, has 
several pornographic TV channels. Holland allows 
any form of sexual behaviour between adults to be 
shown in books and videos - but has a lower rate of 
violent crime than the U.K. Japan, which has by far 
the most violent TV and Cinema in the world, has 
only 1.9 robberies with violence per 100,000 
inhabitants each year. The U.K. has more than 
twenty times as many violent crimes per capita and 
nearly eighty times as many rapes. (Co-incidently, 
since the new censorship laws have been introduced, 
rape has increased faster than any other type of 
crime.) 

In 1975, West Germany relaxed all its censorship 
laws. Since then, crimes of rape and child abuse have 
declined, against an increase in all other types of 
serious crime. 

We are told by the Government that, despite such 
inconvenient (under publicised) statistics, the general 




“BRAZIL” • 179 


population actually want more censorship. This quite 
clearly is not the case. 

In a poll carried out by the Opinion Research 
Centre into people's views on what is shown on 
television, it was discovered that only 23% wanted 
'Sex and Blasphemy' banned from the T.V. Only 18% 
wanted nudity banned. 66% said that they thought 
acts of sex on the screen acceptable and 57% said 
that blasphemy should be allowed on television. 

Opinion polls such as this - and the results of this 
poll broadly correspond with others - do not get 
cited by politicians keen to mould public opinion in 
their direction. 

As other countries (even Russia) question the 
reasoning and true motives behind the censorship 
lobbies and increasingly challenge the right of the 
State to interfere in the private lives of citizens, 
Britain - the most 'free' country in the world - 
stands alongside a small number of countries like the 
Mullah's Iran and Lee Quan Yews' Singapore in 
reversing this trend, despite the wishes of the silent 
majority of its people. 

One of the main advocates for censorship is Mary 
Whitehouse, self-appointed mouthpiece and founder 
of the grandly titled 'National Viewers & Listeners 
Association'. Whitehouse not only supports the right 
of the State to interfere in an individual's personal 
sexual and cultural tastes, but is also of the opinion 
that the TV news should be censored. (She has cited, 
as an example to defend her position, the wide¬ 
spread riots of 1984/86, which she said were the 
direct result of South African rioting being shown on 
ITN and which, she says, should not therefore have 
been screened). 

Of course, the news is already censored in Britain. 
A classic example sprang from the Law Lord's ruling 
made on the 30th July 1987, which effectively 
forbade journalists from reporting on the Peter 
Wright case. The following morning's BBC radio 
news bulletin was curtailed with the words, "we are 
unable to report what was said next under the new 
restrictions..." For journalists, who a few months 
earlier had winced when having to file 
similar-sounding reports from South Africa during 
the state of emergency, it was a sorry time. The 
editor of The Sunday Times, Andrew Neil, said: "We 
live in a totalitarian state. It's like living in Russia." 

In December 1987 the Government took out an 
injunction banning the BBC from airing the Radio 4 
programme ‘My Country: Right Or Wrong'. A 
programme which threatened to expose the way in 
which State Secret Service agents operated outside 
the jurisdiction of Parliament. The action 
also forbade journalists and broadcasters from 
referring in any way to the names of people whom 
they knew were - or had been - involved in the 
Security Services. 

The Government's bizarre actions had some severe 
and widespread implications, as well as some 
revealingly silly ones. For example, the day after the 
injunction, BBC Radio Essex was barred from 
mentioning the names Wright, Philby, Burgess or 


McLean in a trailer to an interview with the star of 
a new musical playing in Basildon called Philby, 
Burgess And McLean: The Musical. Bemused listeners 
were instead treated to a selection of records. (If the 
Law was made to look an ass, the government was 
made to look a bunch of arseholes). 

Such a public banning order is rarely resorted to, 
however. Usually it is sufficient for the government 
of the day to censor items behind the scenes. 

When the BBC planned to screen a programme on 
N. Ireland, At The Edge Of The Union’ in 1985, Leon 
Brittan, then Home Secretary, wrote to the BBC's 
Governors asking them not to show the programme. 
Brittan latter claimed that his Government were not 
censoring the BBC, as he had simply written his letter 
as "an interested citizen". The fact that as Home 
Secretary he had the power to ban programmes and 
also fix the BBC's licence fee, had nothing to do with 
it at all. (The film was banned.) 

Early in 1988, three unarmed terrorists were shot 
repeatedly by an SAS team in Gibraltar. Despite 
Government pressure, the IBA refused to ban the 
commercial TV programme Death On The Rock, 
which revealed some unsavoury facts about the 
killings (the Government had already refused to 
co-operate with an investigation by the Amnesty 
International organisation into the killings). A few 
days later, the government introduced a new tier of 
TV censors (the third tier in all), Thatcher herself 
chose as the new body's Chairman her avid admirer 
Sir William Rees-Mogg, former editor of the low 
circulation Times newspaper and a well-documented 
campaigner for censorship. (If Rees-Mogg was 
appointed, as the government suggested, to reflect 
public taste, why was he appointed at all? The Times 
was, under his editorship, one of the smallest-selling 
national daily papers in the country. If one really 
wanted someone to reflect true public taste, should 
Thatcher not have appointed the editor of The Sun 
or The Mirror, easily the most popular papers in the 
nation?) 

The National Viewers' and Listeners Association, 
whom one would think would be interested in the 
viewer's right to know, did not comment on the Law 
Lords ruling, or the later injunctions and threats: 
Whitehouse and co. were, in fact more concerned 
with counting the number of times the word 
"bloody" was used in Billy Connolly's stage act. 

An avid admirer of this loathsome Whitehouse 
woman is Winston Churchill MP. His Obscene 
Publications (Amendment) Bill proposes to give the 
Director of Public Prosecutions more powers to 
prosecute TV producers under the all-embracing 
accusation of 'obscenity'. Programme controllers and 
directors, if found guilty of airing a programme that 
offends the likes of Whitehouse and Churchill in 
some way, could find themselves in prison for three 
years in Thatcher's "new, free Britain". 

As film director Michael Winner points out, under 
the wide implications of the Bill it could be an 
offence to transmit a production of, for example, 
Shakespeare's King Lear, the censors argument being 



180 • RAPID EYE 1 


that, in showing Gloucester getting his eye gauged 
out, the programme makers would be inciting 
viewers to do the same. (What, indeed then, about 
Oedipus Rex, or a cinematic version of the 
crucifixion?) 

The general impression given by the censors as 
they seek to increase their control is that things are 
"constantly getting worse". We are told, for 
example, that violence on TV is more frequent and 
brutal than ever before, but, again, the facts simply 
don't support the censorship lobby's argument. In a 
lengthy report carried out by Dr Guy Cumberbatch 
and his team at Aston University in 1987 into TV 
violence, it was found that there has, in reality, been 
a steady decrease in violence on British television in 
recent years. The doctor's findings, based on 2,078 
hours of monitored TV output, was totally ignored 
by Churchill. Should his ideas solidify into law - and 
it's almost a certainty that in some shape or form, 
they will - then adventurous drama programmes 
such as Edge Of Darkness, The Singing Detective, or 
I, Claudius will become a thing of the past. 

Although Churchill's Personal Publicity Bill, at time 
of writing, is not yet law, the previously-mentioned 
Video Recording Act is, having come into force amid 
deafening silence in September 1985. Among other 
things, this new law made it an offence for a person 
to have in their possession a video that has not 
received classification from the British Board of Film 
Censors. Clause 2 of the Act does, however, allow for 
some types of video to be exempt from this 
necessity. The Minister of State for the Home Office, 
defending the new legislation in the House of Lords, 
admitted that the exact definitions of what videos 
are exempt and what videos are not exempt is open 
to testing in the courts. So, if the police stop a 
citizen in the street, find an uncertificated video in 
his or her pocket (a Cabaret Voltaire scratch tape, or 
a copy of Peter Shaffer's Equus starring Richard 
Burton, for example), and decide that it is not 
exempt, then that citizen can be charged. One's only 
protection, in the words of the Home Office, is if 
that person "convinces the court that they thought 
it was an exempt video". 

This system goes against the traditional belief that, 
in British courts, a person that is charged with an 
offence has to be proven guilty by the prosecution. 
In this instance, the onus of proof is put upon the 
person the police have accused. 

It is also a generally accepted fact of British justice 
that ignorance of the law is no defence, so one 
could imagine severe practical difficulties if one were 
faced with the task of defending oneself in court on 
the basis of ignorance of the law. Another defence 
may be to say that the video was not for supply to 
anyone else, though again, in practice this defence 
may be impossible to prove, particularly if one has 
video-copying facilities at home. It also leaves any 
aspiring video artist facing a heavy fine or even 
imprisonment. 

New laws such as this and suggested amendments 
to established laws show how attitudes are 


becoming more restrictive and reactionary, rather 
than more forward-thinking and reformatory. For 
example, the aforementioned Obscene Publications 
Act 1959 has been tampered with on several 
occasions over the years, but no real changes have 
been implemented which make the law more 
obviously fair in the context of a free society. 

The government has still not implemented the 
recommendations of its own committee on the 
Obscenity Laws. (Not surprising really, as the Williams 
Committee recommended that these laws be 
relaxed). 

The latest change, mooted in a Private Member's 
Bill by Tory MP Gerald Howarth, ostensibly attempts 
to make the Obscenity Law more up-to-date and 
clearly understood. On hearing this, one is supposed 
to be pleased to hear that someone in Parliament is 
taking the trouble to alter bad laws. But on closer 
inspection, one finds that the suggested changes to 
the wording of the law are not intended to remove 
the ambiguous and subjective criteria of "...to 
deprave or corrupt...”, but to add to that 
anachronism the words "and/or grossly offend a 
reasonable person." So the new Bill doesn't even 
claim to offer a new, fairer test for obscenity, but 
merely adds yet another subjective test to the old 
one, thus increasing the scope for prejudice and 
making prosecution of anyone dragged before a 
judge even more of a foregone conclusion. 

The practical reasons for the Bill's introduction are 
that, despite the hardline attitudes shown by the 
current government and the police, some magistrates 
(such as those in Nottingham mentioned earlier) 
have thrown police cases against some booksellers 
and video shops out of court saying that the material 
confiscated was clearly not obscene and the police 
had been wasting public money in bringing such 
cases before them. Howarth's new proposals 
therefore imply that because some independently- 
minded magistrates and jurors had chosen to return 
some fairly ordinary magazines to their owners - as 
they have a right to do - there must be something 
wrong with them, and wrong with the law that 
allows them this freedom. The logic is that if the 
jurors go against the wishes of the police, the law 
must be made more restrictive, thus making it more 
difficult for courts to acquit those who stand 
accused. Howarth knows that people can, after all, 
be 'offended' by almost anything, particularly the 
type of people the Tory government would describe 
as 'reasonable'. 

Howarth, an unknown backbencher, has received 
more personal publicity due to his Bill than at any 
time since the BBC accused him of being a member 
of a secret right-wing 'militant' organisation 
operating from within the Conservative Party. So the 
Bill is good for his career. He wouldn't admit to it 
though, but he does blunder into defending tighter 
controls on individual freedom by saying that such 
things are "good for police morale", as if that is 
justification enough. Both he, and the Police, 
condescendingly say that the new broader wording 




BRAZIL” • 181 


of the law would make it easier for the public to 
understand. Indeed, London's senior Vice Squad 
officer said " the word 'offensive' may be more easily 
interpreted by the man on the Clapham omnibus". 
Ordinary people, the people Howarth and the Police 
exist to serve, are apparently incapable of 
interpreting such words as "corrupt", or at least 
unable to do so in a way which pleases rightwing 
politicians and policemen. 

The British Board of Film Censors are far from 
being such ordinary people. According to their own 
leaflet explaining their reasons for existence, they 
claim to be able to judge the moral standards of 
other people and they have the power to exclude 
from the public exhibition anything likely to "impair 
these moral standards" (the word 'moral' is always 
followed by the word 'standards', inferring that a 
person who has different moral attitudes and 
customs must have lower standards). 

The (Cinematograph Manufacturer's Association 
makes much of the Board's supposed independence, 
though in fact Members cannot be appointed to the 
Censorship Board without lengthy prior consultation 
with the Government's Home Office. 

The BBFC was founded in 1912, with one of its first 
stated aims being "to protect the Cinema from local 
authority interference”. In this area, they seem to 
have failed miserably. 

In reality, despite the propaganda put about by 
the Board, it is the personal peculiarities and whims 
of local councillors that account for the nation's 
cinematic viewing habits. The ultimate power of veto 
lies with them, at local authority level, and 
councillors often show a keenness to exercise that 
power. For example, the progressive members of 
Beaconsfield Urban Council banned The Beatles' 
Yellow Submarine because, in their own words, "it 
was pure unadulterated rubbish." Never mind that 
the British Board of Film Censors had already given 
it a certificate that allowed it to be shown to 
children. (So much for the Board "protecting the 
Cinema from local authority interference".) 

Although the BBFC's certificates are often 
disregarded by local councils when the Board passes 
a film and the council wants to ban it as in the 
above case; the majority of councillors are willing to 
accept the BBFC's opinions without question when 
the Board simply refuse to give a film any certificate 
at all. 

Normally, when the Board does not give a film a 
certificate, the film's distributors shelve the picture 
and it simply doesn't make it to general release, 
regardless of the work and money put into its 
making. When the Board refused to give any 
certificate to a film version of James Joyce's Ulysses, 
however, Columbia Pictures took the usual step of 
applying directly to individual authorities for 
permission to screen the film in their areas. In the 
event, 54 councils refused them permission and 27 
let it be shown. 

At this point one wonders if local councillors and 
policemen are the best people to judge works of art? 


Police raiding the Open Space Theatre Club in 
London, to seize Andy Warhol's film Flesh, admitted 
to some startled customers that they didn't even 
know who Warhol was. Similarly, in the case of 
Ulysses, Councillor Beardsworth of Blackburn 
admitted that he hadn't read Joyce, or viewed the 
film, but he'd heard it was "so obscene" that the 
film was banned in his area anyway. Alderman 
Michael Pettitt of Southampton proved to be rather 
more well-read, having brought a copy of Ulysses 30 
years earlier. "I believe that without the obscenity 
and blasphemy, a film version of Ulysses would not 
be worth seeing" he said. No help. Without even 
viewing the film, he and his council banned it. 

This power of film censorship in the hands of local 
authorities is clearly not only unlikely to be of 
benefit to the flagging British Film Industry - it is 
also legally dubious. 

In a flagrant abuse of the spirit of the law, local 
councillors and the courts have connived to 
re-interpret The Cinema Acts to give councils more 
power over what people can - and more importantly 
cannot - see in a cinema. 

The Cinema Acts were passed only to ensure that 
cinema buildings were safe places for audiences, 
giving councils the right to inspect and licence 
cinemas on the grounds of public safety. However, 
by interpreting the Acts in a way which even the 
Home Office admits Parliament never intended, the 
courts have been able to uphold in law the validity 
of the censoring powers which local council despots 
have usurped unto themselves, through an 
imaginative interpretation of the law. Now it is 
unquestioned universal practice for local authorities, 
when issuing licences to cinemas, to impose their 
own conditions with regard to the films screened at 
cinemas in their area, rather than just licensing the 
buildings in which the films are shown. 

This means, in effect, that if a handful of local 
councillors disagree with the content of a film they 
can stop it being shown to the public. In Brighton, 
for example, the newly-elected Labour Council 
banned the already heavily-cut film 9# Weeks in 
1986 as the female 'feminist' Mayor and two of her 
colleagues found the film (unspecifically) "offensive 
to women." The adult population of Brighton (both 
male and female) were therefore denied the right to 
decide for themselves, nor able to watch a movie 
seen by people all over the rest of the country. 
Public opinion weighed heavily against the council’s 
action but, as usual, the wishes of the public were 
ignored by the politicised minority. 

Indeed, the bible-thumping, loud mouthed 
minority of would-be censors on the political Right 
often form an unholy alliance with the equally 
vociferous, breast-beating minority on the Left when 
the thorny question of censorship arises. Besides 
both sets of people being earth-shatteringly boring, 
they have something else in common. They both 
presume that their view is 'right' - so sure, and so 
opinionated are they, in fact, that they have the 
arrogance to take things a step further by insisting 




182 • RAPID EYE 1 


that everybody with differing opinions must be 
wrong. This self-appointed state of grace allows 
them to use their powers in any way they see fit, 
regardless of any now-redundant assumptions of 
democracy. In Ken Livingstone's words, when 
speaking to support his Militant colleague Clare 
Short's motion to ban 'Page 3' photos from the 
tabloid press - "People must be moulded to think 
properly.” (Moulded by Ken, in his own image, in 
other words). 

The question of censorship is oil for the cogs of 
Social Engineering. In the search for any despot's 
version of Utopia, where uniform people think 
harmoniously, censorship of all that is 'nasty' and 
'naughty' and 'subversive' and different is an 
essential part of the blueprint. Media types like 
Livingstone and Whitehouse live in the public eye 
solely because they realise the power of the news 
media, realise that as a society our perception of 
reality comes only through the edited, stylised 
'reality' presented to us by the media, and purely 
because as politicised people they are interested in 
'moulding' how other people think. So that, one 
day, we may all live happily ever after in their 
antiseptic heaven. This is all very well, if you 
conveniently forget the concept of freedom of 
choice and the right of each human to decide for 
himself. Censors are not interested in writing or 
reading books themselves, they are interested only in 
what other people write and read. On top of that, 
they are also able to magically predict what effect a 
person's reading matter will have upon that person. 
(Yes, they are remarkable people.) 

The news media is vital in the arsenal of the 
censors. The media needs sages, prophets of doom 
and monstrous figures who will fulfil such 
prophecies. The media needs news. Any newsworthy 
item is seized upon and wrung dry. So, figures like 
Michael Ryan for example, who shot up Hungerford 
one dark afternoon, are godsends to the vultures in 
the media. Follow-up interviews with shocked 
members of the public and outraged politicians 
create a counterfeitist call for "something to be 
done" across the nation, and a totally media- 
invented panic gains momentum in the Press and on 
TV. Pressure is put to bear on hapless politicians who 
can only save their popularity by doing "something" 
- almost anything - to appease the hyped-up Leader 
Writers of Fleet Street. So, in the case of the 
appalling Mr Ryan, instead of looking upon the 
incident as an isolated event in which a man who 
owned guns went stark raving mad, the government 
introduced a set of new laws which affected every 
sane, law abiding citizen who owned a gun, and also 
affected every sane law-abiding citizen who did not. 
It's important to realise that the changes in the law 
did nothing to prevent a repeat of the Ryan 
incident, but merely did something to appease the 
media, which was the object of the exercise. The 
government also promised to do "something" about 
the adventure-game computer programmes and 
survivalist magazines to which the pathetic Ryan 


subscribed. In the Britain of the 1980s the rights of 
well-balanced people count for little. The wishes of 
the true majority count for nought. We must all be 
treated as potential sickos and children, so our TV 
and Cinema and magazines must aim to be as bland 
and yellow and innocuous as possible. 

Nowadays, it is not only the individual's personal 
viewing and reading habits which are interfered 
with. The whole question of Free Speech must now 
be viewed within a context of harassment and 
general intimidation. 

Madeline Haigh, a housewife living in Sutton 
Coldfield, wrote to her local paper in 1985 airing her 
views about British and American nuclear weapons. 
A few days later she was visited and questioned by 
officers of the Special Branch. This, and other similar 
incidents which occasionally come to light, have 
been officially acknowledged as being true. But as 
others have pointed out - how many other such 
cases go by without a mention? 

Even before his national notoriety, journalist 
Duncan Campbell's home was raided and searched 
by the police. Nothing unusual about that, perhaps. 
But, at the time of the raid, Campbell was being 
treated in hospital after a road accident. The police 
knew about this when they applied for a warrant to 
search his home, and that his hospitalisation would 
ensure that the troublesome citizen was not around 
while his private files were being gone through. An 
uncanny coincidence indeed. 

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are among 
the non-violent, essentially apolitical citizen's 
organisations that have had their offices raided and 
searched without any charges being brought against 
them. (Under the Telecommunications Bill of 1984, 
police and other government agencies were given 
the right to tap the telephones of people who had 
not been convicted of any crime. In 1987, some 
33,000 telephones were officially tapped). 

To some, it seems that the only right to free 
speech that really exists in this country is the right to 
freely express support for the established political 
parties, churches, and traditional institutions. The 
only criticism that is allowed is mild cynicism exposed 
in the areas of entertainment, or criticism of one 
political party - providing it is supporting the 
(similar) ideology of another major party. Protest 
against the Police, the Political system, the Church 
and the State is quite definitely taboo. 

EDUCATION 

If a country claims to be Free and Just, the main 
foundation of its Freedom and Justice must lie in the 
education which it provides and allows for its 
citizens. Without a basic education, the individual is 
not only denied facts which may be pertinent to his 
decision-making, but he is automatically placed in a 
subordinate position in relation to those who have 
the facts at their disposal. When this situation arises, 
the individual is inclined to take advice 
unquestioningly. Depending on the motives of the 
people supplying him with information, his decisions 



“BRAZIL” • 183 


can be influenced by means of editing what 
information he is given - omitting facts which may 
detract from the dominant argument and giving 
misleading projections about the results of the 
individual's decision. It therefore follows that in any 
society which claims to have a failsafe system of 
democracy, an unbiased and wide-ranging education 
is essential. So too is the creation of an atmosphere 
which encourages the individual to think 
independently. 

When it wants to be, the basic State educational 
system in Britain can be very effective. It is a tribute 
to its effectiveness that, for instance, the 
overwhelming majority of its graduates accept 
unquestioningly the historical existence of Jesus 
Christ - regardless of their level of interest in 
religious matters - even though verification of this 
cannot be made by usual historical methods. (Some 
form of Religious Instruction is a legal necessity in 
schools, and in some areas of education and law, no 
religion other than Christianity is given the same 
protection and avenue of propagation. This is why, 
for example. The Satanic Verses could not be tried 
under the laws of blasphemy, which only cover 
blasphemy against the Christian idea of God.) 

However, one simple indictment of the education 
system's wide-ranging effectiveness may be seen in 
the area of Religious Education. Although British 
people do probably leave school believing in Christ, 
they hear next to nothing about the teachings of 
Buddha, Mohammed, or the subject of comparative 
religions. This may be a crass example, but it is just 
this sort of one-sidedness, the selection of 
information made available to the individual, which 
is at the heart of the debate about Freedom. All too 
often, education in Britain compares uncomfortably 
with straightforward conditioning. 

The narrowness of education is not limited to 
religious matters or to the schooling of 
impressionable young children. Unless any college's 
curriculum toes the predominant line, it is open to 
interference of all kinds. 

When, in 1969, the Open University was founded, 
its stated aims of providing a good non-traditional 
form of education for all adults whom the 
traditional educational system had 'missed out' was 
praised by all political parties. It is now the largest 
university in the world. In a free society, an 
overriding and long-established principle has been 
that the syllabus and methods involved in educating 
students should be left to the educationalists, free 
from interference from the State. 

In June 1984, however, the Open University 
received a communication from the Department of 
Education 'advising' that its Social Science course 
texts be revised so as to change their political 
content. The OU faculty was also informed that the 
Minister of Education, appointed by Margaret 
Thatcher, was "taking a personal interest in the 
matter". At this point, it should be remembered that 
the Open University relies for the vast majority of its 
income from the Government of the day. Its bursary 


is decided by the Minister of Education. 

Such instances are not as isolated as they seem. It 
has long been the case that political parties in 
control of central and local government funding of 
schools and colleges in this country have sought to 
influence the presentation and content of subjects 
taught to young people through the unfair 
application of such pressures. 

It is not only political parties and right-wing 
extremists who monopolise the right to interfere, 
though. Despite an increase in cases of child 
molestation in the capital, when the Inner London 
Education Authority made a video warning children 
about sex attackers in January '87, the Inner London 
Teachers' Association refused to show it to pupils 
"because the police were involved in the making of 
the video". So the way in which vital information 
was presented to pupils was interfered with on the 
grounds that it was not the Association's policy to 
work with the police, for political reasons, by a 
group of people who, as Educationalists, would claim 
to put the educational needs and safety of their 
pupils above anything else. 

Besides such cases of interference, it is notable that 
over the last few years the State Education system 
has been starved of funds for necessary equipment 
etc., the government of the day having chosen to 
question the high priority given to education, 
preferring, it seems, to create a semi-literate, 
generally ill-educated pool of easily influenced, easily 
pleased people - a practice that must be at odds 
with the concept of democracy. The rights of 
individuals to gain education in a free society have 
also been brought into question by the State and by 
people in positions of political influence. Both the 
following quotes came in 1986 and are taken as 
examples from many which are in a similar vein on 
the subject. The first is from a non-aligned civil 
servant in the Department of Education, the second 
from former Vice Chairman of the Conservative 
Party, Jeffrey Archer (a man who definitely does not 
give money to prostitutes). 

“We are in a period of considerable social change. 
There may be unrest, but we can cope with the 
Toxteths. But if we have a highly educated and idle 
population, we may anticipate more serious conflict. 
PEOPLE MUST BE EDUCATED ONCE MORE TO KNOW 
THEIR PLACE.’ 

"The problem is that, nowadays, people think they 
have a RIGHT to education. ’ 

Conspiracy theories aside, the State, it seems, is 
engaged in a longterm exercise in social engineering, 
so as to produce, through its (non-)education system, 
a new 'proletariat' lacking in adequate education 
(and therefore choice) who will accept the prospect 
of such things as continual unemployment and the 
increasing lack of individual liberty without serious 
or co-ordinated revolt. (Under the present Tory 
regime we spend less of our GNP on Education than 
any other EC country.) At the same time, as the 
effectiveness and resources of the State Education 
system decline, tax concessions and other benefits 




184 • RAPID EYE 1 


have been extended to those seeking private 
education. The vast majority of MPs, peers, top civil 
servants and members of the British Institute of 
Management, as well as most senior ranks in the 
armed forces, attended private schools. The next 
generation, it seems, is being set into the same 
polarised mould, with even greater gaps between 
the education of those taking over the effective 
running of the State, and those who are at the other 
end of the economic scale. The resulting Society this 
type of policy creates will inevitably be even more 
divided, in educational and economic terms, than it 
is at present. 

As Information is the key to the Freedom of 
Choice, the control of Education is a vital area to 
dominate, as is the control of the media. If one 
carefully controls both areas, one has all but won the 
battle for control of the people's minds. Interesting 
then to note that no other Government since the 
War has interfered so frequently in the areas of 
Education (see the Education Reform Acts etc.) and 
the Media (see the numerous new rules governing 
TV and video). 

The only area you now need to concentrate upon 
is the overtly Political one. If you control Education 
and the Media properly, all you have to do now is 
ensure that all opposing political parties appear 
incompetent and corrupt, if you are to stay in power. 

INFORMATION, SURVEILLANCE, DECEPTION 
It is generally believed that one of the common 
criteria of all free countries is the right for each 
individual to be free to engage in any legal political 
activity they wish, free from harassment and 
interference from the State. 

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is a 
peaceful, non-aligned movement founded in 1956. 
At its height, its membership numbered over 100,000 
and its general views are supported by more than a 
third of the population (given the results of various 
opinion polls). Its supporters include Bishops, Lords, 
MPs of most major parties, and former Government 
Ministers. Despite its legality and general credibility, 
it is one of many institutions that is under close 
scrutiny from the Government, and a target for 
interference from its agents. 

In 1985, Sir Ronald Dearing, Chairman of the Post 
Office, revealed that he had established that CND 
correspondence had been "substantially tampered 
with". When challenged with this information, the 
Home Secretary replied that he would "neither 
confirm or deny the existence of authorised 
interceptions". He went on to say that he had no 
reason to believe any unauthorised interceptions 
were being made on letters to CND members and to 
the campaign's offices. As the interceptions had been 
established - by of all people the Chairman of the 
Post Office - one is therefore left with no choice but 
to come to the conclusion that CND mail is officially 
tampered with. Besides this, it has also been 
reported that the CND office telephone lines were 
tapped. (As these reports came through, bugs were 


found in the offices of the Communist Party of Great 
Britain, adding credence to the phone tapping claims 
of CND.) 

The Independent Enquiry into the policing 
implications of the Miners' Strike of 1985 found that 
there was strong evidence to suggest that the 
telephones of many miners were tapped during the 
dispute. The Chairman of the inquiry. Professor Peter 
Wallington, called on the Home Secretary to "make 
a clear statement" on the extent of the phone 
tapping of NUM members, but his requests have 
been ignored by the government. 

In 1986, further evidence of such shady goings-on 
came from an unlikely source. Ex-MI5 agent Peter 
Wright tried to publish a book - Spycatcher - about 
his experiences while working for Her Majesty's 
government. Even though Mrs Thatcher said in the 
House of Commons that Wright's claims that he 
burgled and bugged his way around London illegally 
were "fiction", the book was banned in Britain. The 
public were quite simply denied the opportunity to 
read the book, which was freely available in other 
countries at the time. (Rather strange that the 
government should invest so much time and money 
in banning a work of pure fantasy.) 

As MPs' demands for an enquiry into Wright's 
claims were turned down by the government, the 
British media - by now fed up with the story - 
contented themselves with poking fun at the 
Americans' painstakingly public enquiry into the 
Irangate affair. The sense of irony was acute. If 
Irangate had happened here, the British legal and 
constitutional system would not even be able to 
accommodate such a mammoth investigation, even 
if such a scandal were ever admitted by the 
politicians and civil servants involved. (Can any 
British citizen imagine Thatcher, the Home Secretary, 
the Head of MI5 and senior civil servants from the 
Ministry of Defence being grilled by MPs and judges 
on live TV for several weeks? Sadly, I for one 
cannot.) 

Between 1985 and 1987 another ex-secret service 
officer, Cathy Massiter, gave MPs a series of highly 
detailed accounts of how MI5 operatives deliberately 
misinterpreted Home Office rules on gaining 
interception warrants, so that they could legally tap 
the phones of private citizens. Of the accounts she 
gave, the Home Secretary told the Commons that 
"this does not and cannot happen". Massiter, who 
worked for the Security services for many years, 
insists that it does. She cites numerous examples of 
the bugging and phone tapping of people who were 
neither criminal, nor suspected of being involved in 
espionage - though the Government refuses "to 
confirm or deny" any of the cases involved. 

Massiter says that a typical way in which the 
government and MI5 operate in obtaining 
information on potential political adversaries is the 
way in which MI5 provided information on individual 
CND members to a propaganda unit - DS19 - which 
had been created by Michael Heseltine when he was 
Minister of Defence. It is not surprising to find out 




“BRAZIL” • 185 


that this operation was set up just before the 1983 
General Election, when nuclear disarmament was a 
key issue in the Labour Party manifesto. 

So Tory politicians use the British Secret Service not 
only to combat terrorists and spies, but also to 
obtain information on their innocent political 
adversaries in the hope of discrediting them before 
the electorate and pre-empting their political plans. 

Again, the comparisons between Thatcher's smug 
claims of 'freedom' in Britain and the reality of life 
in the USA are embarrassing. Watergate brought 
down an entire government. Massiter's well- 
documented claims here have hardly made a ripple. 
Indeed, few people would even know who Massiter 
is. 

Even when faced with such indictable evidence, 
however, public hysteria and prejudices can be 
whipped up so that any infringements of people's 
right to privacy are acceptable. Speaking in the 
House of Commons in March '85, after the Post 
Office-CND revelations. Conservative MP Robert 
Audley said that as people involved with CND must 
share a worldview "indistinguishable" from that held 
in the Kremlin, "they should expect such treatment". 
His statement was greeted with approval from the 
Government benches. 

In many other countries, such an attitude is not 
tolerated. It is indicative of the British situation to 
note how our government is treated in Europe. In 
May 1984, for example, when the Government was 
questioned by the opposition on the subject Lord 
Elton was forced to say that - at that moment alone 
-the European Court of Human Rights had before it 
30 applications relating to the interference of 
correspondence within the U.K. against the British 
Government. By far the highest number of 
complaints against any EEC member, even though 
very few cases are ever taken out against the 
government by individuals having their mail 
tampered with, meaning that even this figure 
represents only a fraction of the mail involved. 

Personal information of all kinds can be pried into 
by the Government - even the most confidential 
medical information. Mere patients are actually 
prevented from gaining full access to their own 
medical records. These records are not the property 
of the patient, nor even the property of the patient's 
doctor. They belong to the local Health Authority. 
Without the knowledge of the patient, or his doctor, 
the police have access to the personal data recorded 
on the patient's file via the Health Authority. 

In a situation such as this, it is perhaps not 
surprising that many people fear consulting fully 
with their GP, and may suffer physically and mentally 
as a result. A person may be worried about having 
VD for example, but not go for testing or treatment 
because he is afraid that his confidentiality may be 
breached. 

In these days when the question of compulsory 
AIDS screening is a subject of serious debate, as too 
is the incarceration of AIDS victims and carriers (HIV 
positive prostitutes are already being held against 


their will by the Social Services in some hospitals), it 
is perhaps worrying - when police can refer to 
patients' records at will - when powerful policemen 
display their true attitudes towards people who 
don't conform to their own narrow personal set of 
beliefs. 

In December 1986, James Anderton, Chief 
Constable of Greater Manchester, said, "People with 
AIDS are swirling around in a cesspool of their own 
making". Anderton, a devout Christian and lay 
preacher, is the same policeman who set up armed 
police patrols in Manchester city centre, and was also 
accused by other police officers of bugging their 
phones. This writer can find no quotes from 
Anderton on the subject of Human Rights. Perhaps 
he should study the works of J. Christ more carefully 
- or at least listen harder when he speaks to him on 
his intercom. “Judge not and you shall not be 
judged; condemn not and you shall not be 
condemned; forgive and you shall be forgiven." 

Anyone who raises their eyes above street level in 
London will find police video surveillance cameras in 
numerous positions above the capital - there are six 
in Trafalgar Square alone. Police helicopters and 
'hoolivans' are now a common sight in most large 
cities. Any patrolling officer can radio base and find 
the identity and records of any member of the public 
within seconds. Official phone taps are increasing, as 
is the use of all manner of computerised 
information-gathering technology. Individual officers 
add to police data by getting information from the 
Inland Revenue, Social Security offices. Customs & 
Excise, Education and Health Authorities, even banks 
and other private institutions. 

With a few real safeguards, this information can 
be passed on to private security firms, employment 
officers, foreign governments and police forces - 
even though much of the information cannot be 
checked and may be incorrect, and a lot of it is 
based on unsubstantiated hearsay from informants 
and officers. In the estimation of one former Chief 
Constable - John Alderson (not to be confused with 
James Anderton) over a third of the information 
held by the police alone is totally useless in the 
pursuit of law breakers. In a variety of ways, police 
build up information on members of the public who 
have no convictions. 

Since May 1984, beat policemen have been 
encouraged to add to this mass of information on 
non-convicted members of the public by completing 
very brief green 'Intelligence Debriefing Reports', 
listing car and telephone numbers, names and 
addresses of suspects and potential trouble makers, 
etc. etc. and filing these at their station for other 
officers to refer to. Police patrols regularly note the 
registration numbers of cars seen parked outside 
such innocuous events as charity village fetes in aid 
of CND, or in the car parks of certain pubs used by 
known criminals and nightclubs frequented by gays. 
Serious allegations have been made, aired on 
Channel 4 TV, saying that some police officers have 
actually staged burglaries into new offices and the 



186 • RAPID EYE 1 



homes of newcomers to an area, as a cover for a matter how innocent or law-abiding you are, this 

clandestine search of the property to see what information will no doubt affect the way you are 

business is done there. The reported 'burglaries' are treated by the police in future, 

then investigated in the normal way, involving an Driving away from Plymouth in May 1983, Mrs B. 
official police visit with questions being asked and -who was eight months pregnant-was stopped by 

fingerprints being taken. Even in legitimate the police because her car registration number was 

enquiries, such as murder investigations, thousands routinely checked through the computer which 

of innocent people may be interviewed and revealed that the car was connected with an address 

information stored on them relating to their work, at which there had been a drugs raid in 1981. Taken 

their lifestyles, their friends etc. Even when the to the police station, she was stripped, searched, and 

specific inquiry is resolved, this information can be held for four hours on 'suspicion'. True, police had 

kept by the police in perpetuity. raided her home two years before - but only 

The enormous amount of trivial information, held because they went to the wrong address. In other 

in the form of brief notes on computer and likely to words, incorrect and misleading information had 

be ambiguous, though often inferring that been held on computer for 2 years, 

individuals are in some way criminally minded or In September 1984 Dr Brian Richards was arrested 
subversive, can then be passed on through the by police in Los Angeles on the basis of information 
information system. Years later, a foreign police which they had been sent by Scotland Yard 

force, for example, could request information on a (information which had been stored on the 'C 

citizen, leading to a false impression being created Computer at Hendon, which alone holds information 

based on the ambiguous info received. on over two million people). The information 

If you happen to be stopped by the police three supplied to the L.A.P.D. was misleading and later 

times within a month - even if you are guilty of no proved to be incorrect. When asked about this 

crime - some constabularies automatically put you particular incident, the under-Secretary of State 

on file as being a 'suspected person'. Meaning you admitted that the information was wrong and that 

are "someone who is actively engaged in crime but the Met. were wrong to have supplied it. However, 

who has not been convicted of any offence". No he added, the problem was that the information was 




“BRAZIL” • 187 



"now in the possession of the U.S. authorities, and, 
regretfully, cannot be withdrawn". Tough luck. 
Doctor. 

The cogent fact is that data, however irresponsibly 
gathered, can be held against an individual for life 
if stringent rules are not applied. Even in a 'free' 
society such as ours, citizens have little control over 
the information held on them, how it is used, or to 
whom it is disseminated. 

The case of Dr Richards and the case of 'Mrs B.' 
(when the National Council for Civil Liberties 
reported her case she asked for her name to be kept 
secret) are not isolated ones. It recently came to light 
that MI5 vetted all the journalists applying for jobs 
at the BBC, and have done so secretly for years. The 
only reason this fact came out was because of the 
case of Isabel Hilton. In 1976, Ms Hilton applied for 
a television job with the Corporation. The BBC Board 
unanimously chose her from the many candidates for 
the post, but they were informed by MIS that she 
was a "security risk", as she was Secretary of an 
academic cultural group called the Scotland/China 
Association, which the 'Intelligence' Services wrongly 
thought was a 'subversive' organisation. So she 
couldn't have the job. 

The position went to someone else, despite the 
wishes of Ms Hilton and the BBC Under British law, 


Ms Hilton has no right to challenge the accuracy of 
the information passed on to prospective employers 
about her. Determined to clear her name and 
highlight the unjust system that operates in Britain, 
with great determination she took the case to the 
European Court. (It was one of three cases regarding 
British Intelligence services heard by the court in 
February 1987 alone.) Though hundreds of similar 
cases here have come to light, one can only 
speculate on how many thousands of other cases 
have not. 

Public accountability is not a high priority in 
Britain, whether it be about the use of personal 
information regarding a private citizen, or the 
release of information that is in the public interest. 

Under the Public Records Act, records of the 
Cabinet and central government departments are 
placed in the PR office where they must be made 
available to the public... but only after a period of 
thirty years has elapsed, and even then only at the 
discretion of the Lord Chancellor of the time. Even 
this necessity can be avoided if "sensitive" 
information is involved. In all government 
departments, a constant process of sieving is going 
on so as to reduce the enormous amount of paper 
stored. During this process, the vast bulk of 
governmental records are destroyed. Of course, most 







188 • RAPID EYE 1 


of these records are of no interest to anyone, but 
historians and journalists have made accusations of 
government departments conveniently destroying 
records that may be embarrassing to them in later 
years. (Incidentally, records of criminal proceedings 
brought by the government are made available to 
the public not after 30, but only after 100 years.) 

Such injustices flourish almost unnoticed because 
this government is a master in the art of public 
relations, and a genius at wrapping restrictive new 
laws and practices in an appealing package. For 
example, the public is told that the system of 
collecting local council rates is "unfair", so the 
government, deeply concerned with fairness and 
justice, will help everybody by radically changing the 
system. The Poll Tax is introduced. No longer are 
rates to be paid by the householder and determined 
purely by the size and value of the building and the 
wealth of the person. Now everybody is to pay. 
Conveniently, this means that every person in the 
land must declare where they are living, who they 
are living with, how much time they spend at an 
address etc. etc. An ongoing census is introduced, 
albeit by the back door. 

The information on the new tax register is 
collected by thousands of Registration Officers, who 
have the power to investigate any household in the 
country. The information which they seek must be 
given by every citizen (if you refuse to co-operate 
you can be sent to prison). The extensive personal 
data collected will not be safeguarded by the law. 
More worryingly, behind the Register itself is what is 
called a Second File, recording the notes, anecdotes 
and suspicions of the local authority officers about 
individuals made in order to assist them in catching 
evaders. A citizen is not allowed to see his or her 
entry on the Second File, as the Local Authority can 
deny access on the grounds that the file is related to 
the collection of a tax. Any information collected by 
the local council can be passed on to other 
governmental departments on request. The 
government have said that to build up information 
on individuals living in a house, it may be possible to 
cross reference Tax Register files with records kept by 
estate agents, insurance companies, local libraries, 
housing departments, bus companies (season ticket 
lists), landlords, trade associations, British Telecom, 
the local Electricity and British Gas Boards, the local 
press, education bodies, health authorities etc. etc. 
The new Tax Register will also include an individual's 
National Insurance Number - which is interesting 
when one considers what is happening to people's 
National Insurance Cards. 

The old cards (which every person over 16 has) are 
suddenly no longer any good, so a new type of card 
is introduced. Gone is the scruffy, ordinary looking 
piece of cardboard (which can be read by the card 
holder), to be replaced by a shiny new plastic card, 
which just happens to have a mysterious magnetic 
strip on the back of it (which cannot be read by the 
card holder). 

In June 1988, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir 


Peter Imbert forecast that Identity Cards would be 
carried by all British adults by the mid 1990s - 
embarrassed Government Ministers denied all 
knowledge of the plan. 

By November of '88, however, Douglas Hurd 
announced the introduction of a 'voluntary' national 
ID Card scheme to be phased in over the next few 
years. One wonders what the police would say to 
people they stop who have not chosen to co-operate 
with this scheme (got something to hide 'ave we?) 
Of course, after the voluntary 'run-in' period an 
excuse will be found'to make the cards compulsory. 
This happened when Sports Minister Colin Monyhan 
announced that due to the success of a voluntary 
card scheme at Luton Town Football Club (the 
scheme was not voluntary with fans nor was it 
successful) all seven million people who attended 
football matches would be required by law to 
register for, buy and carry such a card to all matches 
- regardless of their previous behaviour. Something 
which the clubs, the fans, the Police Federation and 
many local Councils opposed. Despite this, and the 
public safety problems that will arise when 50,000 
people turn up at a stadium ten minutes before 
kick-off, Thatcher liked the idea. So, the idea was 
that unless you have a card you cannot watch our 
national sport. Freedom - loving England was the 
only country in the world to consider adopting such 
a scheme. 

In response to growing public concern over the 
gathering, storage and use of personal information, 
the Government - as keen as ever to win votes - 
passed the Data Protection Act in 1984 amid a blaze 
of positive publicity. (In fact the law had been forced 
on the British Government by the European 
Government.) Everybody is happy as superficially, the 
Act, which came into force in November 1987, 
purports to give private citizens sweeping new rights 
of access to all material held on them. On closer 
inspection, one finds that any information held on 
computer which is deemed to relate in any way to 
the safeguard of "national security" (as defined by 
officials at the time) is exempted. So too is any 
information held on manual (paper) systems of 
storage. Also, although the publicity surrounding the 
Act claimed that it outlawed the secret transfer of 
information from one agency to another, there are 
in fact several exemptions in the small print. For 
example, any government department, local 
authority, bank, employer or any other body can 
release any information in secret to the Police, 
Customs, and Tax officials in the interests of 
"preventing crime". (Note the word "prevention", 
which means the Police and others can still gain 
secret access to any records even if no crime has 
been committed.) In everyday reality, the Act only 
means that citizens can pay to see what information 
is held on them in the computers of mailorder and 
credit card companies and their ilk. The law does not 
mean that individuals can see, and perhaps 
challenge, files held on them by several government 
departments, which are still withheld, regardless of 




“BRAZIL” • 189 


how inaccurate or misleading they may be. 

Besides the shortage of rights a British subject has 
relating to personal information, Britain also gives 
few opportunities for the electorate to find out 
exactly what is being done in the name of the 
country by the Government in control. The much- 
abused '30 Year Rule' is just one example of how this 
situation is tolerated with little or no criticism. 

The outmoded and unfair Official Secrets Act 
(particularly Section 2), has, however, been criticised 
by many politicians, judges and private individuals 
over the last few years, though it remains defiantly 
on the statute book and has been used by successive 
governments. It is not only seen as being morally 
correct for a government to have secrets from the 
citizens who elect it into power to serve them, but it 
is also apparently acceptable for this wide-ranging 
Act to be used to cover up a variety of truths that 
cannot conceivably affect the nation’s security. 

In 1979 an attempt was made to reform the Act by 
introducing a fairer 'Protection of Information Bill', 
but this failed to get through Parliament. In 1988, 
backbencher Richard Shepherd introduced a 
'Protection of Official Information Bill', which 
proposed to effectively replace Section 2 with a 
better code. The Government used their majority to 
defeat the Bill. 

The ubiquitous Official Secrets Act gags over 
2,500,000 British citizens, forbidding them from 
talking in any way about any aspect of their work. It 
also makes it an offence to receive any such 
information. So, for example, if you read the first 
copy of the now-defunct left wing tabloid the News 
On Sunday in July '87 which contained a list of 
innocuous 'official secrets', you broke the law. 

So did a postman who wrote to his local paper 
saying that the post office was undermanned. He 
was threatened with prosecution under the Act. So 
was a journalist who published nothing more 
important than the dress regulations of the Police 
Force. Although such examples did not make it to 
court, the threat of imprisonment remains hanging 
over almost all of us, whether we have signed the 
Act or not. 

In a blatant P.R. move in November '88 the 
Government published its own proposed changes to 
the Act. Despite some good publicity, the small print 
of the 'reformed' law shows it to be every bit as 
unjust and open to abuse as the previous Act. 

Regardless of one's opinion about war, few people 
would expect any government to divulge such things 
as troop movements to the press during hostilities, as 
this would inevitably cost lives. It is generally 
believed that it is clear-cut cases such as this which 
make the Act necessary. However, not many people 
outside of the government would agree that it 
would be justifiable for that government to invoke 
the Act in order to cover up military movements 
retrospectively, particularly when several years had 
passed since conflict ceased. To reveal the 
whereabouts of military units after the event could 
have no effect on the outcome of the war. 


Yet governments ignore the concept of 
accountability and invoke the spectre of 'National 
Security' whenever it suits them to do so. And in 
Britain, there is nothing anybody can do to stop 
them. 

Ignoring the political fact that, as Head of National 
Security, the Prime Minister of the day is accountable 
for getting us into any war, and that as Head of the 
Intelligence Services, she was also responsible for 
ignoring information received two months ahead of 
the Argentine invasion of the Falklands in 1982 - for 
which she has not been brought to account - as 
leader of the War Cabinet at the time, she has also 
never explained several military decisions which were 
taken during the course of the conflict. Everyone 
knows about the repugnant Belgrano and Clive 
Ponting affairs, and the way in which Sarah Tisdall 
was imprisoned for six months for leaking politically 
embarrassing information to the Guardian but other, 
perhaps more important matters just do not seem to 
have been spotlighted by the press and remain 
unanswered by the government. 

It has long been the boast of the British Foreign 
Office that we, the third country to develop and arm 
ourselves with nuclear weapons, were the first 
country to promise never to threaten a non-nuclear 
power. It is in this context that we should look at the 
mystery of the Falklands submarines. 

Why were three nuclear-powered Fleet submarines 
(HMS Conqueror, HMS Spartan and HMS Splendid) 
kept in the Falklands war zone for so long that they 
came close to running out of food? Why were they 
not relieved by other nuclear-powered submarines in 
their class which were not otherwise engaged in 
their normal NATO duties at the time? At the time, 
the Royal Navy had 32 submarines, twelve of which 
were of this nuclear-powered 'Fleet' type. According 
to a variety of reputable sources, six of these Fleet 
Submarines were free at the time of the Falklands 
crisis (those 3 already mentioned, plus HMS Warspite, 
HMS Superb and HMS Courageous), but these three 
'spare' subs did not relieve their starving sister ships 
in the war zone because they were in fact being 
used secretly to escort one of Britain's four SSBNs 
(otherwise known as Polaris submarines) in the South 
Atlantic between the military base at Ascension 
Island and the Falklands. 

Given Britain's long standing promise to the world 
about the limited use of its nuclear weapons, what 
was such a powerful unit of Britain's 'nuclear 
deterrent' doing sailing out of range of the Soviet 
Union, but within range of the non-nuclear capable 
Argentine mainland? Who was it 'deterring'? Labour 
MP Tam Dalyell has been asking such questions for 
several years, but not only has he never received any 
satisfactory answers from the Government, he has 
been pictured as something of a crank by the media 
for being interested in the answers. 

It has also been reported that several frigates and 
two carriers leaving the largest naval base in Europe, 
Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, and others sailing 
from the naval bases at Portsmouth, Rosyth and 



190 • RAPID EYE 1 


Chatham, were armed with fully charged nuclear 
weapons on board. Asked about these reports in the 
House of Commons after the war, Margaret Thatcher 
refused to answer any such questions "in the 
interests of national security". 

The same excuse was rolled out for the actions 
that sprang from the Zircon affair in early 1987. 

In 1983, the government was approached by the 
signals intelligence branch - GCHQ at Cheltenham - 
with technical plans for the Zircon spy satellite. Only 
the USA and USSR have spy satellites. Their 
development and deployment is costly and 
technically difficult and, like nuclear weapons 
systems, they are a defence acquirement that gives 
a nation a childish prestige in a field not shared by 
anyone else. Not surprisingly in Thatcher's Britain, 
the plans were approved in June '83 and, 
unbeknown to the taxpayer and despite a climate of 
cut-backs in the social services and even in 
conventional defence, a budget of £700,000,000 was 
earmarked for the project. 

At this point it should be remembered that even if 
the Soviet Union did not know of the plans (which 
is doubtful given the history of MI5 and GCHQ) it 
would have been able to detect the new satellite 
from the moment it was launched. 

Duncan Campbell, a freelance investigative 
journalist working on a BBC TV series, discovered 
details of the project and started filming a 
documentary about it in 1986, for transmission in 
November of that year. The government stepped in, 
however, and had secret talks with BBC governors 
instructing them not to air the programme, which 
was obligingly shelved. In January '87 Campbell, 
somewhat disappointed, wrote an article in the New 
Statesman magazine which talked in general terms 
about the satellite and concerned itself primarily 
with the way in which Parliament had supposedly 
been duped by the government over the £700m 
Zircon budget. 

The magazine's offices were promptly raided by 
the police. Special Branch officers also raided 
Campbell's home (twice) in January and seized 
documents. A few days later, detectives raided the 
BBC's Broadcasting House in Glasgow at night, and 
confiscated the master tapes of the Zircon 
programme and those of all the other programmes 
in the projected series. In a supposedly unconnected 
incident a few days later. Sir Alistair Milne, Director 
General of the BBC, resigned. He had already been 
under pressure to do so from Norman Tebbit, then 
Chairman of the Conservative Party, for supposed 
political bias against the Tories. 

In free Britain, then, police swept into the private 
home of a well known journalist, the offices of a 
widely-read magazine and, under cover of darkness, 
the studios of our country's National TV station, 
broke down doors (Campbell's), and took away 
material that was destined for public consumption. 
Labour MP Gerald Kaufman compared the actions 
with those being carried out in South Africa and East 
Germany. The government denied all responsibility 


for the raids, saying that the police had "acted 
without instructions from Whitehall"! 

Some found it hard to believe that the chain of 
command, from Chief Constable, to Home Secretary 
to Prime Minister, was broken in a case of such 
national importance. 

Of the 15 member nations of N.A.T.O., only two 
governments refuse to publicise or debate their 
emergency civil defence plans for times of war. It will 
be no surprise to learn that one of these two 
countries is Britain. 

Since 1979, Home Defence arrangements in Britain 
have been completely revised, and government 
powers over the internment of citizens, setting up of 
new courts, conscription of civilians to work parties, 
reinstatement of the death penalty, 
commandeerment of private transport and buildings, 
plans to block road and rail routes out of major cities 
and so on have been extended far beyond the 
emergency powers which operated in Britain during 
World War II. 

Secret Bills are now known to have been drawn up 
since the Thatcher government signed the 1983 Joint 
Logistics Plan, an unpublicised agreement with the 
Americans which led to these secret Bills being 
devised. The elected government of this country 
have denied even the existence of these mysterious 
Bills and refuse to debate their contents openly in 
Parliament, but it is now accepted that they do exist. 

It may perhaps be necessary for governments to 
have emergency powers in case of the outbreak of 
war, and also to keep certain military plans secret 
from potential enemies, but why is Britain almost 
unique in making these plans for the civilian 
population totally secret and undebatable by MPs 
and the British people? The answer seems obvious. If 
real information about government plans in the 
event of war were known, serious, informed debate 
would take place resulting in public pressure on the 
government to change these plans and, probably, 
added pressure would also be brought to close down 
British and American nuclear bases throughout 
Airstrip One. 

Unlike the Germans, Dutch, Italians and almost 
everyone else, the British people and their elected 
representatives are flatly refused the right to find 
out what they may be letting themselves in for. 

Nobody can change this situation. Politicians learn 
from the experience of Tam Dayell that their 
questions are either not answered truthfully - or not 
answered at all. Civil Servants have seen Clive 
Ponting charged for speaking the truth, and 
journalists must heed the message sent out by the 
Zircon affair. Don't investigate the government, 
don't listen to the truth, don't publicise the facts. 

So the censorship of reality goes on and on. It is a 
way of life. There are, of course, numerous examples 
of censorship of material which cannot remotely 
affect National Security. 

In November '87 the American Alza Corporation, 
marketing a new IUD contraceptive, wished to supply 
patients with an 8 page booklet explaining the 




“BRAZIL” • 191 


possible longterm effects of using lUDs and giving 
women instructions on their correct use. The British 
Health Department banned the booklet (which was 
distributed freely in all the other countries taking 
the contraceptive) saying it was "inappropriate for 
use in the U.K." Social Audit a consumer research 
group on pharmaceuticals, said that the British 
decision “reflected the British Government's 
tight-fistedness with information The DHSS said 
that it would not comment on this, or any other of 
its decisions, which are confidential. The leaflet, and 
the product, were withdrawn by Alza, who refused 
to supply women with lUDs without informing them 
of the possible health risks involved. This is by no 
means an isolated example of the peculiar secrecy 
adopted by the British Government in order to 
maximise its power and limit public awareness. 

The government gets detailed reports on defects 
of all models of car, but will not reveal the findings 
to the general public; the government's Department 
of Health tests the relative toxicity of all brands of 
cigarettes, but won't tell of the results; the 
government has lists of areas in Britain that are 
hazard sites, liable to be unfit for human habitation 
due to "fall out" of dangerous chemicals if accidents 
occur at local factories and stores - the information 
is classified. And so on. In 1984 a Social Security 
ruling which allows young people studying part time 
to claim benefits during their first three months of 
study was not publicised, nor even did the DHSS 
inform any Social Security office of the ruling, until 
news of the situation was leaked to The Guardian 
newspaper: a report commissioned by the DHSS on 
healthier eating was suppressed by the government 
as the Ministry of Agriculture predicted that its 
recommendations to reduce the consumption of red 
meat would affect farmers' sales... 

The Government not only conceal the truth, they 
distort it. Since 1979, the methods of calculating and 
publishing the unemployment figures have been 
'altered' more than 27 times. Each 'alteration' has 
caused an apparent drop in the numbers of 
unemployed, trying to conceal the true rise from 1 
million to nearly 4 million. 

ENFORCERS (GUNS, COMPUTERS, ARMOURED CARS 
- BUT NO BLUE LAMP) 

The UK has 125,000 police officers. (The police 
recently asked for 15,000 more.) There are also a 
variety of specialist internal security branches, such as 
MI6, the UDF, Int.Corps, Cl3, and the Special Branch. 

At any time, these civil forces can be supported by 
the military, who number around 250,000. The army 
were last called onto the streets of U.K. cities to 
support the police in 1969. They have also been used 
in England to break strikes which affect the 
"national interest", such as the Dockers' Dispute in 
the 1970s. 

The vast majority of law enforcement, of course, is 
carried out by the police alone. Contrary to a totally 
hollow piece of rhetoric which people like to repeat, 
they are an armed force. (If they were not, 5 year 


old John Shorthouse, who was shot accidentally by 
police in 1985, would still be alive today. Londoner 
Steven Waldorf would not have been crippled by a 
hail of police bullets as he sat innocently in his car at 
some traffic lights. Fourteen people would not have 
been killed by police plastic bullets alone since 
Thatcher took over in 1979.) Of course the police are 
armed; they probably need to be - but let's not 
pretend they are not. 

The police arsenal in England and Wales alone 
includes more than 30,000 plastic bullets, 2,000 
rounds of CS gas, stun grenades, 9mm Heckler & 
Koch MP5K sub machine guns (which are of German 
design but clandestinely manufactured in the U.K.), 
Parker Hale rifles. Smith & Wesson handguns, 
armoured personnel carriers and assorted other 
weaponry. 

The police make no secret of the fact that they 
are, primarily, the heavies of the State machinery by 
requiring recruits to be of a certain physical, rather 
than intellectual stature. The police are employed to 
enforce laws created by the government. Laws 
defined by judges - individuals who have been 
selected by the Lord Chancellor - in the courts. These 
are the nuts and bolts of the legal system. The 
manner in which this system operates is dictated by 
the attitudes of those at the top, in the cabinet. 
These attitudes are illustrated not only by looking at 
the spate of new laws which the British people have 
been subjected to, but also by the priority given to 
the Police and other law enforcement agencies in 
terms of spending. 

Although NHS waiting lists have increased by 70% 
since Thatcher assumed power, and there are some 
500,000 more homeless people now than there were 
in 1979 when the Tories were elected, this 
government has seen fit to increase Law & Order 
spending by more than 35% in real terms over the 
last ten years (costing us now around £6,500,000,000 
per year). Spending on the police alone has - even 
after allowing for inflation - increased by more than 
50% since 1977. One would assume that such a vast 
increase would have halted the steady growth in real 
crime, but nothing could be further from the truth. 
For example, in this time burglary has increased by 
61% and theft has increased by nearly 40%. And 
since 1979, under the Tory 'Law & Order' 
Government, notifiable offences increased from 2.3 
million annually to 5.5 million, while police clear-up 
rates fell from 42% to under 35%. 

Perhaps the police themselves are not to blame. 
They didn't use to have to spend their time raiding 
so many bookshops, cinemas, or TV stations. 

The Tory Government has certainly increased the 
police workload, by inventing new offences through 
new laws and adjustments to existing ones. Every¬ 
thing seems geared towards giving the law 
enforcement agencies and the State prosecutors 
more and more power. More reasons for arrest. 
More chances of conviction. 

The 1986 Public Order Act is one such example. 
Among other things, it created a whole new offence 




192 • RAPID EYE 1 


called "disorderly conduct" (which covered just 
about anything) and also gave the police powers to 
ban peaceful, formerly legal marches and protests, 
infringing the British public's age-old right to 
assemble peacefully and hold a march or public 
demonstration. 

The local police can even ban a demonstration if 
they believe it may simply cause some disruption to 
the "life of the community" (traffic and shoppers). 
Unlike in Moscow, where it is now common in the 
Glasnost era to see demos that have not received the 
necessary police clearance, if you try to organise a 
demonstration of any kind in Britain despite police 
instructions, you can now be imprisoned for three 
months and fined - regardless of how peaceful the 
demonstration is. (Even before the new Act came 
into force the Home Secretary has been able to ban 
marches, and this potentially undemocratic habit has 
become more common under this Government than 
ever before, as State interference in all areas of life 
has become more acceptable. Between 1970 and 
1980, 11 demonstrations were banned, most of them 
in N. Ireland. In the years 1981 to 1984, 75 demos 
were banned, all over the country.) 

A father in the North of England was arrested 
under this new Public Order 'offence' when his son's 
birthday party was thought "too noisy". A street 
theatre group in Hereford were threatened with 
arrest under this new law for singing songs about 
our beloved Prime Minister. Four people were 
arrested and charged with the offence in London for 
putting up a satirical poster of Margaret Thatcher in 
December '87. 

The new law also gives police more powers to ban 
any other type of gathering of 20 people or more. 
They have already recently banned some pop 
festivals and football matches. Now, the Public Order 
Act, in conjunction with the Sporting Events Act 
1985, can be used with equally new Trade Union 
laws to stop almost anyone going anywhere if the 
police don't like the look of them. For instance, if 
you are on your way to a sporting event in a private 
mini bus with two or three friends you can be 
stopped and searched by police. If you have a can of 
alcohol with you in the van, you can be arrested. 
This quite ridiculous law is a typically inept response 
to the isolated tragedy of the Heysel Stadium 
disaster and the disproportionate reporting of 
football-related violence in the gutter press. As 
usual, the Government disregard personal freedoms 
and pass a law that will have no effect whatsoever 
on fighting at football matches. 

Both the Alliance and Labour parties vowed to 
repeal the Public Order Act if they came to power in 
the '87 election, but so little publicity had been 
given to the Act anyway that nobody bothered to 
make it an election issue. 

It's undoubtedly true that many ordinary police 
officers are becoming increasingly resentful of the 
way in which they are being used by the present 
government to prop up an ever more totalitarian 
regime. Unfortunately, in the present climate. 


precious few such officers get promoted to the top 
jobs in the force. Such jobs are reserved for the likes 
of James Anderton, or less well known officers such 
as Mike Dixon, President of the Police Super¬ 
intendents Association. In September 1987, the 
Association pressed for jurors to be informed of a 
defendant's previous police record before a trial - 
the implications of which are obvious to all. In 
defending their position, Superintendent Dixon said 
that it was "time civil liberty took a step backwards." 
Perhaps Mr Dixon should have said "another step 
backwards", as there are numerous examples of this 
steady backward shuffle which are already enshrined 
in Law, or soon to be added to the statute book. 

The Criminal Justice Bill is yet another such 
example. Traditionally, the defence council has been 
able to challenge and remove up to three jurors 
prior to the case being heard, without having to give 
any reason. This is to try and give the defence the 
benefit of rejecting anyone who they think may not 
be an unbiased judge of the evidence at hand (for a 
hypothetical example, if a black person saw some 
white skinheads take seats on a jury about to try 
him, he could reject them). The government's new 
bill proposes to deny people this tried and trusted 
right of peremptory challenge completely. 
Meanwhile, in other countries such as the USA, the 
opposite is the case, as the rights of the defence to 
reject jurors is increased. Once more, age-old rights 
of the individual citizen are being reduced, and the 
chances of the State to convict people of crime are 
increased, against the worldwide trend. 

During the 'Persons Unknown' trial it was revealed 
that in some cases potential jurors are vetted and - 
contrary to the British principle that juries should be 
randomly selected - excluded if they were considered 
by the Prosecution to be 'unsuitable'. The Secretary 
General's guidelines on jury rigging say that 
potential jurors should be checked against local 
police. Special Branch, and other records (the Special 
Branch computer alone has more than 1,000,000 
people's details stored on it). People can be barred 
from jury service if the State feels they may have 
'extreme political beliefs' and the Special Branch do 
not consider them 'loyal' citizens. These guidelines 
have never been approved by Parliament. 

Parliament was neatly bypassed (again) when 
obscure local bylaws were introduced for 
Molesworth and Greenham Common (coincidentally, 
both places where a foreign government has 
dumped its weapons) in 1985. Suddenly, trespass on 
MoD land in these specific areas became a criminal 
(rather than a civil) offence. It also became an 
offence for anyone to attach anything to the 
perimeter fences of Air Force bases. This includes, of 
course, the priests and nuns who have regularly 
attached crosses and crucifixes to the fences over the 
years. In July '87, the common moorland near RAF 
Fylingdale became out of bounds to ordinary British 
people. Now, MoD police can tell any person to 
leave the moors without giving any reason, and 
direct them not to return within 12 months. If one 




“BRAZIL” • 193 


protests at this, one can be charged with a criminal 
offence. The new 'Controlled Area' is 50% Common 
Land. 

Apart from such changes in the law, the legal 
system itself is changing its practices within the 
existing legal framework in order to fit in with the 
current almost totalitarian atmosphere. 

There is, for example, a growing trend for trials to 
be held behind closed doors. In one sample week in 
1987, a published survey of London courts showed 
that more than 366 hearings were held with both 
the Press and the Public excluded. In several cases. 
Contempt orders were also placed on trials so that 
certain pieces of evidence could not be reported. 
This secretive style of justice is common practice in 
the country's major courts today. Decisions which 
effect the freedom of thousands of people are made 
behind closed doors, or with reporting restrictions 
which stop newspapers and TV from releasing 
pertinent facts. Even more insidious is the fact that 
more general, far-reaching judgements - which alter 
and re-interpret areas of the law and therefore 
affect all of us - are being made without public 
scrutiny or discussion. 

Lord Scarman said a few years ago that “Justice is 
done in public so that it can be discussed and 
criticised in public Now, in this era of almost 
imperceptible clampdown, the rights of discussion 
and serious criticism are effectively being denied. All 
too often, justice is not being seen to be done. 

Even in normal 'open' court there is a widespread 
practice of preventing members of the public from 
taking notes during a trial. Some instances have 
been reported of police moving into the public 
gallery and removing notebooks from onlookers in 
the court. There is no legal authority for police to 
restrict people's freedom to take notes in this way, 
other than on the orders of the judge. 

Even journalists reporting on open trials are not 
always allowed a copy of the transcript of the court 
proceedings. The procedure is that the journalist 
must apply to the Attorney General for permission to 
purchase a copy of the transcript (the fee itself is 
substantial), and this permission may be refused 
without reason. Journalists who have been refused 
trial records include such potential subversives as 
Ludovic Kennedy. 

The courts are given special protection against 
criticism by the doctrine of contempt of court. Unlike 
in some other countries, judges are not elected, and 
cannot be voted out. They cannot, in effect, be 
controlled or disciplined. Complaints against them 
are heard by their colleagues and, in practice, usually 
come to nothing. 

What is not generally known about judges is that, 
when an accused person is brought to trial, his or 
her past record of convictions is given to the judge. 
(This explains why the Statue of Justice on top of the 
Old Bailey is not blindfolded, as she is in other 
countries.) Some people think that, as the attitude 
and stature of the judge influences often nervous 
and easily-led jurors, the accused person's past record 


should not be made available to judges in this way 
before the evidence is even heard. 

Although journalists have many complaints about 
the judicial decisions which deny them reporting 
rights, they find their rights to appeal blocked by 
The Supreme Court Act, which prevents reviews of 
actions of Crown Court judges. This law came into 
force in 1981. Thanks to this, the only way people 
have of obtaining a proper legal review of a dubious 
reporting ban is to break it, and risk prosecution and 
a prison sentence for contempt of court. 

In State-inspired mythology, every person accused 
of a crime must be convicted on the grounds of hard 
evidence - not hearsay or accusation - by twelve of 
his fellow citizens who sit as a jury. Quite right too. 
A shame that this is just not true. 

There are numerous types of case where no hard 
evidence, no defence witnesses, and no jury are 
needed. For instance, if Customs Officers enter and 
search your premises (they do not need a warrant 
and are free to take anything they wish) they can 
forfeit any item unless, within a month, you decide 
to take them to court to argue your case. No jury 
can be present at such hearings and the only 
evidence acceptable is for you to convince the judge 
that you are not breaking any subjectively 
interpreted law by having the articles in your house. 

There are far more sinister possible injustices than 
this, however. The law relating to the evidence of 
informers is exactly the same all over the United 
Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland, 
or so the Home Secretary once assured Enoch Powell, 
and offers one such possibility. In all these parts of 
the country, it is possible for an individual to be 
accused by the police of a crime and tried without 
the right to have a jury, solely on the evidence of a 
police informer. The informer, in most circumstances, 
is in turn granted immunity from prosecution, or 
leniency himself if his evidence is sufficient to ensure 
the desired results. He is thus put in the position in 
which his 'evidence' must have the maximum effect 
on the judge. This method of justice has frequently 
been used, often with startling results. 

A judge in Belfast trying ten men without a jury 
in May '84, sentenced the ten to a total of 1,001 
years imprisonment on the basis of the accusations 
made by a police informant. 

Although there is little public concern over the 
fate of people who may be guilty of crimes of brutal, 
bigoted violence, many people have expressed 
reservations about this dubious practice and its 
future implications. How is it, they ask, that the 
country which most prides itself on its fair legal 
system, can imprison people for over 100 years each 
without a jury being present, and purely on the basis 
of hearsay evidence given by a confessed criminal 
out to save his own neck? 

The law of the UK, as administered in the 
microcosm of Ulster, is an example of the State's 
powers over its citizenry when protest and revolt are 
in the air, even when this protest is only manifested 
in the hands of a tiny minority. It is important to 



194 • RAPID EYE 1 


realise that it is in no way inconceivable that the 
heavy-handed practices of State interference 
operating in the province be put to use in any other 
part of the country. The law already allows for this 
and, after all, special measures adopted to handle 
the specific case of N. Ireland have been imported 
into Britain before. The Special Branch, for example, 
was formed in 1883 as a secret police unit purely to 
combat the bombings of Fenian extremists. It is now 
used to infiltrate and keep watch on the National 
Front, Communist Party, CND, Scottish Nationalist 
Party, Trades Union officials, journalists, and a host 
of others throughout Britain. The legal system 
already exists to allow the government to pass 
powers such as internment without trial all over the 
UK mainland if it so wished, because we have no 
written constitution forbidding it. 

The Prevention of Terrorism Act was an 
'emergency' Bill passed through Parliament in 1974. 
This very stringent Act was only passed because, at 
the time, the Government said that it would only 
exist for a maximum of six months, and would help 
the security forces net dozens of active I.R.A. 
members operating in Britain. Nearly twenty years 
later, it remains on the statute book. Despite the fact 
that the then Flome Secretary admitted that the Act 
was "wholly unacceptable and inimical to our 
tradition of civil liberties". The powers of the Act 
were extended in 1984. 

The unfortunate individual detained under the Act 
can be detained for 7 days without any charge and 
is effectively put in the position of having to prove 
his innocence of a crime of which he may not even 
have been told. 

Perhaps Governments need extra powers with 
which to combat violent terrorists, but the Act has 
proved to be neither necessary nor effective in this 
fight. Available figures show that between 25th 
November 1974 and 30th September 1983, 5,683 
people were detained under this Act. Of these, only 
21 (twenty-one) were found to be involved in 
anything resembling terroristic activity. The 
overwhelming majority of those arrested and 
detained under this sweeping law were guilty of no 
offence of any kind. Most detentions occurred in 
Liverpool, and included innocent people attending 
Trades Union meetings, weddings, and even the 
funerals of relatives. 

The Act also allows the State to place an 'Exclusion 
Order' on any individual, stopping their movement 
from one part of the country to the next (usually 
from N.Ireland to England or vice versa). No one who 
has their freedom of movement restricted in this way 
has a right to be told why, nor to appeal. Sean Stitt, 
a student from Belfast, had no idea why he was 
placed under an Exclusion Order for over a decade. 
Despite being a UK passport holder, and never 
having been a member or supporter of any illegal or 
terrorist organisation, he found himself 'exiled' to N. 
Ireland and unable to visit Britain to see his sister or 
attend National Union of Students functions to 
which he was invited. Despite appeals, the 


Government refuse to discuss his case. 

In the early '70s, the Labour Government 
reintroduced the practice of internment without trial 
and - as in the South Africa the Labour Party 
criticises today - hundreds of people were dragged 
from their beds and arrested within days of the 
decision being taken. As revealed in the Compton 
Report, many were hooded and forced to spend long 
periods spreadeagled against walls. As reported by 
the Parker Commission, many people were also 
beaten, kicked, and deprived of sleep. Many 
detainees claimed that police had put plastic bags 
over people's heads, not allowing them to breathe 
for long periods during interrogation, and others 
spoke of electric shock treatment as favoured in 
some South American countries (countries which, like 
South Africa, are rightly heavily criticised in the UK 
media, who largely ignore such accusations when 
they are levelled against our own security forces). 
Lord Gardiner, of the Parker Commission, found that 
the procedures adopted by the police were "secret, 
illegal, not morally justifiable and alien to the 
traditions of the greatest democracy in the world". 
Yet another investigation, The Bennett Report, said 
in 1979 that prisoners had "sustained injuries which 
were not self-inflicted". The Secretary of State at the 
time accepted the inquiries' broad conclusions, 
though now, over a decade after the British 
Government was hauled before the European 
Commission of Human Rights and found guilty of 
the use of torture, numerous comparable accusations 
are still being made. 

Torture has, of course, been used by almost every 
country in the world to extract information and 
admissions from suspects. The Catholic inquisitions 
and Protestant witch hunters of previous centuries 
had demonstrated that physical pain is a good key 
with which to open up the mind. Torture victims are 
not usually imprisoned because of what they have 
done, but because of what they know and because 
of what they might do. Because of what they think. 

THOUGHT CRIME 

We all know that to attempt a crime is in itself an 
offence, and to conspire with others to commit a 
crime is also an offence. Did you know, though, that 
under the Police & Criminal Evidence Act of 1984, it 
is now tantamount to an offence for you to have in 
your mind the intention to commit a crime, even if 
you keep silent about it. To have criminal thoughts 
- even if they are not acted upon in any way - in the 
privacy of one's own mind is now itself good reason 
for the police to act against you. "For the police to 
now have powers to do things such as set up 
roadblocks in order to find people who they merely 
believe maybe intending to commit an offence takes 
us dangerously near to the Thought-Crime of George 
Orwell,“ commented Lord Gifford. 

He was not alone in his condemnation of the 
Tories' new law. The Law Society said that it was 
'absolutely against' parts of the Act. Also, in a 
Sunday Times/ MORI poll, more than 65% of the 




“BRAZIL” • 195 



Jerusalem 

(photomontage: Pete Kennard) 


public opposed the Act. Nowadays, in our free 
country, one cannot move around freely if the 
authorities perceive that you may be thinking of 
committing an offence, regardless of your behaviour. 
Miners, during the Coal Strike of 1985, were the first 
large group to fall victim of the Thought Police, as 
they were intercepted on roads and turned back at 
county borders in case they were planning to join a 
picket. 

If you listen to Government Ministers and their 
cronies in the right wing press, the police only used 
this tactic occasionally, when imminent violence was 
obvious in the vicinity. The Chief Constable of 
Nottinghamshire admitted, however, that 164,508 
people who were guilty of no crime, were prevented 
from entering the county of Nottinghamshire in one 
27-week period during the strike. The police 
roadblocks effectively cut off the counties of 
Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and many 
other mining areas, turning them into 'no-go' areas 
for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. Any 
individual who was told to turn back but who 
insisted on exercising his right as a British citizen to 
freedom of movement was promptly arrested. 

When the generally peaceful Stonehenge Festival 
was outlawed in 1985, 1,363 policemen massed 
around the nearby site on which the convoy camped, 
harassing and abusing the six or seven hundred 
picnicking hippies who had gathered. The report 
investigating the incident was highly critical of police 
tactics and behaviour, and also of the manner in 
which hippies were detained after arrest - in 
overcrowded cells without proper toilet facilities. 
When the report was published in April 1987, the 


toothless nature of such inquiries was revealed when 
the Chief Constable of Somerset said that he "would 
do the same again" if the hippies ever returned. Not 
one of the tabloid newspapers covered the findings 
of the report, which found that "some officers used 
excessive force". It also concluded that the 537 
arrests which took place "were largely wrong", and 
that "a number of incidents took place in which 
members of the public were hit by police with 
truncheons... the police accept the truth of these 
incidents [but] it has not been possible to identify 
any of the officers concerned" (my emphasis). 

Surely, in this free country, one asks, the armed 
thugs guilty of beating up innocent men, women 
and children have been arrested, imprisoned, or at 
least drummed out of the Force? 

The answer is all too predictable. Not one 
policeman was charged with any offence after the 
Stonehenge debacle. Shame on them. 

Kate Adie is a well known TV Reporter who has 
worked in Libya and Lebanon, among other places. 
In none of these 'oppressive' nations has she been 
attacked by the police. However, in common with 
other journalists and TV camera crews, the British 
police refused her entry to certain areas of Wapping 
when she was covering the print workers dispute. A 
good old British Bobby also hit her with a truncheon 
in the course of his duty. 

Adie is far from being alone in her experience with 
the police. Cameras covering protests at Greenham 
Common, Toxteth, Aldgrave, Stonehenge and 
numerous other places have been covered up by the 
ubiquitous police glove, and the National Union of 
Journalists has had many complaints about the police 




196 • RAPID EYE 1 


from their members. Journalists covering police 
actions are now fair game, it seems; as is anyone 
who may be vaguely identified with a group that has 
been socially stigmatised, such as hippies, football 
fans, punks, pickets etc. All are legitimate targets as 
the new rules give police greater powers and allow 
far more scope for any personal bigotry which they 
may have to be vented. An individual's behaviour 
and intent may be peaceful and law-abiding. But it 
doesn't matter anymore. The police, it seems, can 
now read minds. 

If you are a male and police see you talking to 
someone who they know to be a prostitute, you can 
both be arrested under The Sexual Offences Act 
1985. This typically Victorian piece of legislation was 
supposed to make the streets safer for women. In 
fact, it merely gave police more powers to intervene 
in the voluntary sexual transactions of consenting 
adults, and diverted the police from their real task- 
to arrest and convict rapists. According to the 
organisation Women Against Rape, the Act "makes 
women more, not less, vulnerable to rape and other 
sexual assault." It does, however, appeal to the 
moralists of the Tory party and to the type of 
policemen who are obviously keen to exercise their 
new-found mind-reading powers. 

All of this may be alright if you're white, middle 
class, middle aged and female (in fact, just like 
Margaret Thatcher). But don't be young, don't look 
different, don't be male and, above all, don't be 
black... 

"There was a time, in Nazi Germany, when police 
were instructed in a similar way to look at the 
features of a person. If he had Semitic features he 
could be arrested." 

—Lord Molloy speaking on the Government's new 
laws. 

Mark Bravo is not a criminal, but he is black. On 
his 16th birthday he got a Suzuki motorbike, and 
started riding it near his home in North London. In 
the first week he was stopped by police seven times. 
This was only the beginning, as over the next few 
months, he was stopped dozens of times. It got so 
bad, his mother started keeping a diary of the 
general police harassment of the boy. It revealed 
that, for example, in the period between March 31st 
and April 14th, he was stopped 24 times (nearly 
twice every day). By the end of the year, fed up with 
dozens of more incidents, Mark sold his bike. 

In December '84, Derek Donaldson, a musician 
with the group Sons of Jah, was injured while being 
"searched" by police in the street. He was charged 
with assault, but Judge Suckling QC dismissed the 
charges against him, noting that the arresting 
officers had given evidence saying that "anyone in 
the Notting Hill area is suspected of being in 
possession of a controlled drug." 

On May 6th, 1982, Matthew Paul, a 19 year old 
"black youth" was found dead in his cell at Leman 
Street Police Station. He had been detained, without 


charge, for 36 hours without access to his family, 
friends or a solicitor - this is perfectly legal (in fact 
new laws allow police to keep you without charge 
for up to 96 hours). Paul had hanged himself (after 
being questioned by police) from a flap on his cell 
door which had been left open by police officers 
despite regulations to the contrary and regardless of 
a recommendation made by a West London coroner 
after a similar death had occurred in another station. 
What's unusual about Matthew's case is that the 
inquest jury returned a verdict of "suicide due to 
lack of care". In this case, though, it's strange to 
note that in the official Home Office records the 
jury's verdict is not recorded. Also, in new coroners 
rules which came into force shortly after the Paul 
case, the list of available verdicts open to a jury was 
altered so as to exclude the use of the words "lack 
of care" where death resulted from violence, 
accident or suicide in police cells. 

It is common practice for people to be held, 
incommunicado and without charges being made, 
for long periods of time in police cells. It is also quite 
common for people to die while being held in 
custody for one reason or another. In 1983, the most 
recent year's figures which are available, 106 people 
died while in cells. Although perhaps not too much 
importance should be attached to statistics, it is 
strange to note that between 1970 and 1983, the 
number of annual deaths while in police custody has 
increased by 300%. 

When a death occurs in a police cell, a public 
inquiry is held. There are literally dozens of cases 
which record such deaths as being caused by 
violence, though they are usually very briefly 
reported. Unfortunately, one has to die while in 
custody in order to get a public inquiry. If you are 
merely beaten, you apparently have little cause for 
concern. 

It seems that the general attitude is that anyone 
who finds himself in a police station deserves to be 
there and can therefore expect such treatment. The 
system is geared towards acceptance of the fact that 
as any such complaints are so difficult to prove, they 
should remain unanswered. So no independent 
jurors sit in on complaints made against the police. 
Most complainants therefore do not bother to go 
through official channels. This is hardly good for 
public confidence in the police. 

Someone who had his confidence in the police 
severely impaired was reggae singer Junior Service. 
He was arrested in February 1984 and charged with 
handling a stolen cheque. Later the same day he was 
stretchered out of Brixton Police Station to Kings 
College Hospital. An emergency operation was 
performed after doctors at the hospital found that 
he had "severe injuries" to his penis resulting in an 
inability to pass water. 

At 10.40 pm on the 1st January, 1987, Police 
arrested 19 year old Trevor Monerville for breaking 
the window of a parked car. His family were not 
informed of the arrest, and Monerville's worried 
father visited Stoke Newington Police Station on 




“BRAZIL” • 197 


several occasions during the following few days, 
asking the police if they knew what had happened 
to his son. On one occasion, he even brought in a 
photo of Trevor to show the desk sergeant while 
asking for him to be put on the Missing Persons list. 
On each occasion, the police claimed to have no 
knowledge of Trevor's whereabouts, even though, in 
fact, he was in cells at Stoke Newington Police 
Station itself. The following Sunday, Mr Monerville 
was shocked to learn that his son was in Brixton 
Prison Hospital. When he had last seen him, on the 
evening of the 31st December, he had appeared 
perfectly normal and well. A few days later, after 
being held secretly in police cells, he needed a brain 
operation. Anthony Strong, the consultant 
neurosurgeon at Maudsey Hospital where Trevor was 
taken to be treated, indicated that Trevor's head 
injuries which made the operation necessary were 
likely to have been caused by a blow with an 
instrument. The police custody records, later 
obtained by Monerville's solicitor, show that six 
officers were involved in taking Trevor's fingerprints 
"by force". It also shows that Trevor's clothes were 
somehow destroyed. Police did not make any charge 
against Trevor, who is now partially paralysed. 

In December 1982, police shot dead Rod Carroll 
and another man. Constable John Robertson was 
subsequently charged with murder. During his trial, 
Robertson gave evidence saying that the police had 
lied at the time of the shootings when they claimed 
that the two men had crashed through a police 
roadblock. The police did not challenge this evidence 
at the trial. P.C. Robertson was acquitted. The local 
coroner was later asked to investigate the double 
killing. A few days later, he resigned. 

The British Crime Survey of 1984 revealed that 
fewer than one person in ten who had a complaint 
against the police took it to the authorities. If you 
do make such a complaint about the behaviour of a 
policeman, it will, on average, take 216 days for your 
complaint to be processed. All complaints made 
against police officers are carried out by their 
colleagues on the force. Of those complaints which 
are received, only 10% lead to a police officer being 
disciplined or 'advised'. So, the statistics suggest that 
if a policeman were to hit you for no reason, he has 
less than a 1 in a 100 chance of being reprimanded 
by his superiors - let alone being convicted of 
assault. 

Often, however, it seems that when a general 
complaint about police behaviour is made, the force 
suffers lapses of memory, loses documentation, and 
the culprits cannot be identified. In 1986 it was 
revealed by former officers that detectives in Kent, 
keen to increase their crime clear-up rate, bribed 
criminals with promises of bail if they would admit 
to crimes other than those for which they had been 
arrested. More than 150 officers were investigated, 
but it was reported that as many crucial files had 
mysteriously "gone missing", not one prosecution 
was made. 

When Liverpool football fans contributed to the 


Heysel Stadium disaster at the 1985 European Cup 
Final at which 38 Juventus fans died, police, under 
pressure from Downing Street, spent months 
studying TV and video footage of the event, along 
with hundreds of blown-up newspaper stills, so that 
they could identify trouble makers in the crowd and 
track them down. They did very well, too, arresting 
fans months after the event and deporting them to 
Belgium for trial. It seems then that they can 
manage to make identifications of nameless faces in 
the melee of a fighting football crowd, but when 
presented with clear, close-up TV film of their own 
officers, identification is impossible. As happened at 
Stonehenge, for example. 

Such was also the case at the Orgrave Coking Plant 
in 1985, when opposition MPs wanted some officers 
disciplined or charged with criminal offences after 
watching the violent scenes on TV. The force didn't 
take such action due to "the problems of identifying 
officers in the crowd." Weird. 

ONE MAN'S RIOT 

A riot was started by the police when, in a raid on 
her home, Mrs Cynthia Jarret - an innocent woman 
accused of no crime - died after being flung to the 
ground by police. (The start of this riot was similar to 
the beginning of the Handsworth riot, when Cheryl 
Groce was attacked by police.) In the Broadwater 
Farm riot which followed a few hours after the 
Jarret incident, a policeman was brutally killed. 

Many feel that this incident led the police, and the 
courts, into actions that Lord Gifford QC said 
exceeded zealousness and clearly broke the law. In 
the days following the riot, hundreds of police in full 
riot gear occupied the flats of the Estate and - in the 
words of the Queen's Council's report - "terrorised" 
innocent residents, smashed down dozens of doors 
unnecessarily, and arrested hundreds of young men. 
The official inquiry found that when the arrested 
people's parents and legal advisers inquired at police 
stations as to the whereabouts of the young men, 
they were deliberately lied to and misled. 

"Those being questioned were being hidden away 
in police stations " said Gifford. The inquiry found 
that in very many cases, the police held people far 
longer without charge than the law allowed (36 
hours), and denied them any right to legal advice or 
contact with the outside world until a confession 
was signed. As a result of the many 'confessions' 
which somehow appeared, the courts were faced 
with a procession of cases involving juveniles and 
people of 17 and 18 who apparently had admitted 
to a variety of serious allegations entirely of their 
own free will. Not surprisingly, jurors did not know 
that many such confessions had come from terrified 
young people who had been isolated and 
questioned for days without any legal counselling. 
So, when presented with such confessions, many 
jurors - who had themselves recently been horrified 
to read of the barbaric killing of the young PC - 
went unquestioningly with the police view and took 
such confessions at face value. Once defendants were 




198 • RAPID EYE 1 


convicted, the judges were severe. 

In January '88, Government Minister David Mellor 
visited the Gaza Strip. In a well-publicised incident 
which outraged the Israelis, he criticised the housing 
conditions of the Palestinians and carpeted an 
accompanying Israeli official for the arrest of a 
youth, near his entourage, who was throwing stones. 
The British Foreign Office spokesman told the Israeli 
hosts that "in Britain we don't arrest young men for 
throwing stones”. 

Tell that to the judge. One young (black) man 
arrested in Tottenham for throwing stones during 
the riot was sentenced to eight (8) years' 
imprisonment. 

One 13 year old 'confessed' after being held 
incommunicado for three days in a police cell, after 
being interrogated regularly and only allowed to 
wear his underpants during his confinement. 

The comparisons with the type of charges brought 
by the police and the punishments meted out by the 
courts between the Tottenham cases and those 
arising from the earlier Handsworth riot add fuel to 
the belief that zealousness against specific murderers 
had given way to a police policy of outright 
discrimination against a whole community. 

After the far longer, bigger and more violent 
Handsworth riot in which petrol bombs caused more 
damage, and during which two (Asian) men were 
killed, the type of charges brought were far less 
serious. At Tottenham, 71 were charged with affray, 
13 with riot and 6 with murder (though charges 
were dropped against 2 as the judge found 
discrepancies in the police evidence). At Birmingham, 
only 16 people were charged with serious offences 
such as affray, and nobody with murder (even the 
manslaughter charges were reduced). Sentences were 
also strangely different. Arsonists convicted in 
Birmingham were given shorter sentences than those 
convicted of less serious offences in Tottenham. 

The Report into the causes of the Tottenham riot 
found that the local community had "justified 
anger" stemming from the long term history of 
policing of the area, sparked by the death of Mrs 
Jarret on that October night. 

Since the days of the Peterloo Massacre, the U.K. 
has, of course, been a nation of rioters and of swift 
action against those involved in any such violent 
protest. A classic modern example was Bloody 
Sunday, when the army shot dead 13 of the United 
Kingdom's residents. 

Although there have been scores of riots in Belfast 
and Londonderry regardless of the political climate 
in London, and although there are intermittent 
shudders on the UK 'mainland' such as at Red Lion 
Square, Grunwick and Lewisham (where Blair Peach 
was killed with a police truncheon and no-one was 
charged with his death), we have not had such 
troubled streets since the social unrest of the 
Industrial Revolution. Thatcher's extremist policies 
have, perhaps, truly taken us back to 'Victorian 
values'. 

History clearly shows that in any country where 


freedom of expression is denied, where the concepts 
of equality and education are openly abused, and 
where people are patronised, oppressed and 
dissatisfied, there will be riots. St. Pauls, Toxteth, 
Brixton, Tottenham, Nothing Hill, Wapping - we are 
informed about riots which occur at the focal points 
of media attention, but what of the incidents in 
cities such as Southampton, Leeds, Wolverhampton 
and Plymouth, or those at new towns such as 
Skelmersdale, which have only been reported locally? 

In the case of Skelmersdale, reporters from Radio 
Piccadilly in Manchester telephoned the local police 
for news of what was happening during the riot, but 
were told that "nothing unusual" was, in fact, going 
on. Is it true that such "riots" are now fairly 
commonplace, and that police chiefs are simply 
denying that they have occurred? The evidence from 
around the country suggests that this is so. (500 
people turning over cars and looting shops would 
have been national news in 1970, one thinks.) 
Perhaps the reason for such a cover-up is that police 
fear creating a knock-on effect of 'copycat' riots 
nationwide, which Tory MPs accused the Media of 
doing after the first Brixton riots. Perhaps the policy 
expressed by Mary Whitehouse at the time, to censor 
the news, was, in fact, adopted. 

Perhaps the answer to the paranoid idea of a mass 
cover-up is far more simple. Nationally, such events 
are just not reported. The Media is not interested 
any more, because the nation is bored with watching 
images of blazing cars, baton charges and rubber 
bullets being fired. (When was the last time you saw 
a Belfast riot reported? Have they stopped?) Protest 
and oppression are now so tolerable, they're no 
longer news; and if they're no longer news, they 
might as well not be real. 

PRISON 

All countries have prisons; few have as high a 
percentage of their people inside them as we do. 
Britain has far more people in prison than any other 
European country. As you read this, nearly one 
person in every thousand is in jail. 

In some countries, prisons are seen as places of 
rehabilitation rather than punishment. The 
impression Britain gives to the outside world is that 
we, too, look upon prisons largely as places of 
reform. Incarceration is merely a last resort, used to 
protect the general public from its most violent and 
habitually criminal members. A prison sentence is 
more of an inconvenience to the prisoner, not a 
denial of all rights spent in a place of misery and 
despair etc. We are, after all, a modern, liberal and 
just society. 

Barry Foster was kept imprisoned for more than 
two years before his case came to trial. He had 
admitted while under police questioning to a crime 
which it was proved that he did not commit. Despite 
this, he was kept in prison. The Home Office gave his 
MP, Robert MacLennan, no explanation for keeping 
Foster imprisoned for so long without him being 
found guilty of any crime. 




“BRAZIL” • 199 


The Secretary of State for the Home Office (the 
person appointed by the Prime Minister to be in 
charge of prison affairs and know what he's talking 
about) claims to have "no record" of the number of 
people held in jail in England and Wales without 
trial. The official government estimate (likely to be 
conservative) is that, at any one time, there are 
about 1,500 people in prison who have been held 
there for over three months without being found 
guilty of any crime. (This figure does not include 
those in prison in Scotland and N. Ireland.) What the 
Government does not publicise is that in some parts 
of the U.K., it will on average take you 178 days in 
prison before your case even comes to trial. 

There was a time, not so long ago, when such 
remand prisoners were allowed a few privileges not 
shared by convicted prisoners. Relatives were able to 
visit more often, and food, toothpaste and other 
items were allowed to be sent in to these inmates 
who had not been convicted of any crime. No more. 
In December 1987 the Government announced that 
drugs were being smuggled into prisons in food 
parcels, so all privileges enjoyed by previous 
generations of remand prisoners were immediately 
curtailed. The Prison Officers' unions said it would be 
easy for their members to search parcels to prevent 
this happening, if they had enough staff. Cutting 
citizens' rights was cheaper than employing an 
adequate number of prison officers. 

In January 1988, the main Prison Officers' Union 
balloted its members on the question of industrial 
action in protest at low manning levels throughout 
Britain's jails. The overwhelming majority of 
members - over 90% - voted for such action. The 
Government, however, said that the vote for action 
only amounted to just over 45% of the total 
workforce, so "we do not consider that 45% gives 
them a mandate" (said the Home Office). Strange, 
that. The same Government after all, was voted in 
by only 19% of the total U.K. population. No more 
prison officers were employed. Unemployment 
carried on rising. Prisoners' rights continued to erode 
due to "lack of staff". 

As anyone who has spent time in prison will tell 
you, British prisons are often dangerous, old 
fashioned and overcrowded (official reports show 
that we have 9,000 more prisoners than we have 
authorised prison places). Violence among inmates 
and between inmates and warders is said to be 
common. Once inside, justice is rare. 

In a test case, a former prisoner claimed damages 
against the Home Office for assault and battery, and 
the administration of drugs against his will while in 
custody. (Unusually, the prisoner concerned also 
continued to protest his innocence of the crime for 
which he was imprisoned, long after he was sent 
down. As such protests can lengthen one's stay in 
jail, this is something few convicts do). In the case, 
the Home Office denied that the prisoner was forced 
to take drugs or that he was assaulted, saying that 
he expressly consented to the administration of the 
drugs. However, the man claimed that five prison 


officers had entered his cell, held him down, 
wrenched off his trousers and pushed a needle into 
his buttocks - injecting Stelesine. He claimed that 
these forced injections happened on several 
occasions. The judge accepted the evidence of the 
prison officers, however, who claimed to be "totally 
unaware of the absence of any consent to the 
injections", and the case was dismissed. The 
ex-prisoner appealed, but the case was dismissed 
again. 

Legal expert Sir John Donaldson says that a 
prisoner cannot, as a matter of law, give an effective 
consent to treatment under any circumstances. Lord 
Avebury claims that even if a prisoner agrees to 
medication, it is often due to the fact that any 
refusal can be interpreted as a refusal to co-operate 
with the prison authorities, thus lengthening the stay 
in prison. 

The practice of injecting prisoners with drugs is 
not uncommon. In 1984, the Home Office admitted 
that in 1983 alone, 8,220 doses of psychotropic drugs 
were injected into prisoners. These mind-related 
drugs were, we should stress, not injected into 
people incarcerated in mental institutions, but into 
inmates of normal prisons. No figures for orally- 
administered drugs in prisons are available for 
publication. 

Although the particular test case mentioned may 
or may not have had a basis in fact, such accusations 
of forced drugging and other forms of mistreatment 
are very common indeed. It has even been pointed 
out in Parliament that "there is a pattern and 
consistency about ex-prisoners' allegations of 
brutality which lends substance to such claims." 

Such accusations are almost impossible to prove. 
Even when presented with a corpse, it seems that 
the legal establishment is unable to come up with 
many cases in which either police or prison officers 
have been jailed for acts of violence, let alone 
murder. Often, it seems, when someone is badly 
injured or dies while in prison the motions of a 
concerned society are gone through, inquests are 
held...and nothing happens. 

Let us take the example of just one of the prisons 
in England and Wales, the example of Wandsworth 
Prison in South London. 

At Wandsworth, Terry Smerdon was recently found 
dead in his cell with bruises to his body. The inquest 
returned an "open" verdict. 

Ian Methven was another prisoner to meet his end 
in a Wandsworth cell. The inquest verdict this time 
was "death due to lack of care". 

Lennie Turner alleges that while in Wandsworth, 
he was assaulted and denied food and drink for five 
days. 

Jimmy Anderson, who actually went as far as 
asking a court's permission to take legal proceedings 
against some prison officers at Wandsworth, said in 
court that other prison officers had threatened him 
with death unless he dropped his charges. He 
applied to the High Court to allow him to take the 
legal action necessary to try the prison officers who 




200 * RAPID EYE 1 


had assaulted him, but Lord Justice Tasker Williams 
ruled against him, stopping him from taking legal 
action on the grounds that there was "adequate 
protection against abuse within the prison system". 
No prison officers were even brought to trial. 

Although thousands of similar complaints have 
been made about the illegal actions of prison 
officers, many totally legal punishments pass without 
comment. At the discretion of Prison Officers alone, 
a variety of extreme punishments and restraints can 
be imposed on a prisoner. Under Rule 43, prisoners 
can be segregated and put into solitary confinement; 
they can be strapped into the notorious Body Belt (a 
sort of leather straight-jacket); or they can be 
incarcerated in 'Strong Box' cells (otherwise known 
as 'Strip Cells'). 

Strip-searching is common. In 1982, some prisons 
introduced the practice of strip searching women 
prisoners. In one prison, 97 prisoners were strip 
searched a total of 772 times in a period of 4 months 
- almost eight strip searches per prisoner. In June 
1983 records shqw that one woman at the same 
prison was strip searched 28 times. This practice 
continues, and is quite legal. 

Contrary to popular opinion, most criminals who 
are sent to prison have been convicted of crimes not 
against people, but against the property of people - 
victimless crimes. Of ail crimes reported in England 
and Wales in 1986, 96% were committed against 
property. Despite the headlines and the propaganda 
put about by the Home Office and the Police, the 
vast majority of people now in prison are not 
violent, are not sexually motivated, and do not 
represent a physical danger to other members of 
society. They are far more likely to have stolen a car, 
evaded tax, sold a pornographic video, or taken 
marijuana than they are of raping or killing anyone. 
But in a society obsessed with materialism, 
censorship and restriction, they are dumped into a 
prison system that does not properly differentiate 
between the violent and the unlucky. Although 
some prisons are better than others, if you are put in 
prison in this country, even for a victimless crime, it 
is not only possible that you may be injected with 
drugs, stripped and caged in a bare cell and - if 
certain members of the House of Lords are to be 
believed - beaten up by guards and other inmates; 
it is also possible that if you have a mental or 
physical problem, you will not be given the medical 
attention expected by any civilised society. 

Take the example of Alan Tschelbinski. When he 
arrived at the aptly-named Strangeways prison, he 
was suffering from fits. Instead of being hospitalised, 
he was transferred to a cell with bare brick walls, a 
concrete floor, and no furniture except for a bare 
mattress which lay on the floor. He was stripped 
naked and left alone in this cell for several days. 
Most of the time he spent lying on the cell floor, the 
last couple of days in his own excrement. When the 
fits took hold of him, he would run against the cell 
walls. He was not treated for any of the bruising and 
other injuries that occurred. Despite his appalling 


condition, the prison authorities refused to allow his 
parents admission when they came to visit him, even 
though they knew that his mother had dealt with 
him successfully on many occasions in the past when 
he had been suffering from fits. Alan died within a 
week of being imprisoned. At his inquest, which 
uncovered the details of his death listed here, the 
prison authorities still maintained that the cell was 
"the proper place" for Alan. 

Although our prisons and detention centres are 
hopelessly overcrowded, there is a remedy that 
would not involve a great deal of public 
expenditure. That would be to de-criminalise several 
offences, such as the possession of certain drugs, 
instruct magistrates to sentence people to shorter 
terms for minor crimes which are not carried out 
against the person, and, instead of punishing 
offenders by simply sending them to prison, make 
them do community service work and pay 
compensation to the owners of the property which 
they have stolen or damaged. Despite the common 
sense of these suggestions, which have been made in 
a number of reports, courts seem reluctant to 
change, as every year the prison population increases 
and the penal system sags under the pressure. One 
other alternative answer to the problem of prison 
overcrowding is to let prisoners die, particularly if 
they are as troublesome as Tschelbinski. Alan was 
not unique. Someone dies in a cell in this country 
every two days. 

The National Council for Civil Liberties (now called 
'Liberty') receives, on average, 2,000 letters a year 
concerning the abuse of prisoners. A typical case 
they have highlighted was that of 18 year old Jim 
Heather-Hayes. He committed suicide while at 
Ashford Remand Centre, just after being examined 
by the Prison Doctor. At the inquest into his death 
the doctor gave evidence which revealed what 
Ashford's medical care really entailed. "I go into a 
cell with a warder and I say 'Are you alright?'. 
Heather-Hayes did not reply, so I left the cell ." 

Risley Remand Centre is another prison which 
holds people who have been found guilty of no 
crime. In a report on the Centre, published in June 
'88, it was found that the centre was "infested with 
cockroaches and other pests, toilet facilities were 
practically non-existent and overall conditions 
ranged from bad to disgusting". In Risley's twenty 
odd years of existence, there have been 25 suicides. 

Of course, not all prisons are hell-holes. The 
Government would point to some that are very 
good, and indeed they are. But surely, we do not 
need to be concerned about what goes on in good 
prisons, but as a caring society we must be 
concerned with the many bad ones. 

The message is, perhaps we British should not be 
as complacent about our own prison system, nor as 
quick to condemn the prisons in other countries 
(such as those in Turkey or the USSR, for instance) 
until we have made reforms here. 

The problem is that MPs, newspapers and the 
general public are not very concerned about what 




“BRAZIL” • 201 


goes on inside the prison walls, and of those few 
campaigners that are concerned, many find it 
impossible to judge the situation themselves as their 
sources, the former prisoners themselves, are 
automatically discredited as witnesses due to their 
previous law breaking, and officialdom blocks any 
inquiries with a wall of silence and suspicion. We are 
back to the question of Information. Information 
about what goes on inside prisons is considered to 
be extraordinarily sensitive in free Britain. 

Home office rules relating to prisoners writing 
books while serving their sentences say that inmates 
wishing to write a book while in custody may do so, 
and the book may be published after release, 
“provided there is no reference to prison conditions, 
or members of the staff or fellow prisoners". On top 
of this, no manuscript can be sent out of prison, 
even after vetting, during the writer's sentence. 

Books, letters, notes and even personal diaries 
written by prisoners while in custody are prison 
property, and may be censored or confiscated at any 
time, for any reason, and kept - even after the 
prisoner's release from gaol. 

Compare this with unfree Russia. When convicted 
spy Peter Kroger was exchanged for British spy 
Gerald Brooke, all of his notebooks were taken from 
him by the prison authorities and he was not 
allowed to leave prison with them. Brooke, coming 
back to England from the USSR brought back all his 
30-odd prison notebooks to the U.K. 

HEALTH, SEX AND MORALITY (THE CONDOMS GO 
ON AND THE GLOVES COME OFF) 

The many areas that we have already covered seem 
to give the impression that there is a great deal of 
repression in the land of the free. Anyone who 
endeavours to bring information to the public which 
highlights this fact is open to persecution, regardless 
of their motives. The right wing monopoly that 
controls the news media and the extremist, 
censorious, amateurish attempts of the political left 
to counter-balance this on 'alternative' TV shows and 
in magazines means that 'political' avenues of 
expression are also, in practice, limited and 
compartmentalised. 

Having said that, however, there is a great deal 
more tolerance shown to political dissenters (who 
retain a small degree of power due to their voting 
capacity), than there is to people who publish 
information relating to Religion and Sex. Even the 
lethargic British would, one thinks, protest if 
anything like the same degree of open interference 
and censorship were shown in public political 
matters as in private sexual ones. Our freedom to 
complain about the government, sometimes even to 
criticise the government (though not the State) is 
considered fundamental, and infinitely more 
important than our freedom to do with our own 
bodies what we wish. 

As the only alternative to the government is 
another government, which acts in much the same 
way as the one that went before it, the State System 


can afford to encourage superficial criticism of 
Downing Street and accept government personnel 
changes if the system is to survive without serious 
questions being asked of the very structure of British 
society. 

A real necessity of Control is to control each 
individual as a single entity, thereby controlling the 
masses. This control over the individual is no more 
apparent, and at the same time no more apparently 
unnecessary, as it is in the area of sex. 

The social pressures put on an individual so that he 
or she conforms to 'normality' are so enormous and 
widely experienced that we need not even cite 
examples of this here. The British seem totally 
obsessed with sex, and the law is full of the results 
of this unhealthy obsession. Here are a few 
examples. 

The Post Office Acts make it an offence for anyone 
to send "indecent" material through the post, even 
if it is packaged in such a way as to cause no possible 
offence to prudish postmen... 

Anal intercourse between men and women is 
illegal - even if the participants are married... 

In 1985, a Midland based contact magazine called 
Rendezvous was prosecuted, and production of the 
magazine stopped. The magazine published no 
erotic stories or letters, no photographs of models or 
genitalia. What it did do was feature lists of personal 
adverts placed voluntarily by adult members of the 
public wishing to meet others, primarily for sex. The 
magazine accepted no adverts from minors or 
prostitutes or pornographers, and was only on sale 
to people over the age of 18. This did not stop it 
being fined... 

Nightshift was a nightclub operating in central 
London that was frequented primarily by suburban 
married couples interested in the "swinging" scene. 
Although no on-premises sex was permitted by the 
management and the club was only used as a 
meeting point for likeminded adults, the police 
raided the club in November '87, saying that they 
were "investigating possible licensing infringements 
and (unspecified) indecent behaviour." The club was 
forced to close... 

Homosexuality is still forbidden in the armed 
forces. It is thought that nearly 100 men a year are 
locked up in Colchester Military Training Centre, 
guilty of nothing more than being gay. In a flagrant 
breach of an individual's right to privacy, the military 
question candidates about their personal sexual 
habits prior to admission. It also goes to great 
lengths to root-out individuals who it suspects of 
being gay, and court marshals them, kicking them 
out. This means, in effect, that thousands of pounds 
of taxpayer's money is wasted on their training, and 
the military lose hundreds of competent, professional 
individuals. 

After a series of police raids on private homes in 
1990, codenamed Operation Spanner, sixteen men 
were convicted of assaults causing actual bodily harm 
and wounding at the Old Bailey, under sections 47 
and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861. 




202 • RAPID EYE 1 


Their crime had been to indulge in heavy 
homosexual S/M activities with each other, and 
commit some of these scenes to video. The video was 
not sold or distributed, but was discovered by police 
in one of the initial raids. All the defendants were 
over the age of twenty-one. Sentences varied, but 
some of the convicted men were given up to four 
and a half years in prison. The Court of Appeal cut 
some of the sentences, but upheld the convictions. 
Lawyers for the convicted men took the case on 
through to the House of Lords, where, on 11th 
March 1993, the original judgement was upheld by 
the Law Lords by a small majority. One of the judges. 
Lord Lowry, said: “Homosexual activity cannot be 
regarded as conducive to the welfare of society or 
the enhancement of family life." Another, Lord 
Templeman, said: "Society is entitled to protect itself 
against a cult of violence. Pleasure derived from the 
infliction of pain is an evil thing.” So, regardless of 
the fact that the men involved were all above the 
legal age of consent, acted in private and through 
their own volition, and, prior to the new 
interpretation of this ancient law, had no reason to 
believe that they were acting illegally, they still went 
to Brixton prison. At the time of writing, several of 
the defendants are thus languishing in jail for 
inflicting minor, short term injuries on each other, 
while successful boxers are lauded and respected 
members of society for doing the same thing. Britain, 
as a member of the EC, is a signatory to the 
European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8 of 
which guarantees respect for the private life of each 
European citizen. The case is being taken to the 
European Commission of Human Rights. Co¬ 
incidentally, on the day the Law Lord's ruling was 
reported, some newspapers carried a small item on 
the case of doctors who had acquiesced with the 
Jehovah's Witness parents of a 13-day-old baby by 
refusing to give medical attention that, in the words 
of the doctors, would have saved the mother's life. 
Some gay men, who, by their sexual orientation, do 
not contribute in the normal way to the 
"enhancement of family life" were given prison 
sentences for consentual activities that caused no 
permanent injury or damage, let alone death. On the 
same day, a Christian sect is, on the other hand, 
allowed to let people die, thus depriving their 
children of the "enhancement of family life". 
Extremists with "Christian" motives are apparently 
alright, even if their activities lead to the death of 
others. Extremists who have personal, sexual motives, 
are punished by the law, even if their activities harm 
no-one. 

New York has Times Square, Paris has The Pigalle, 
Hamburg has The Reeperbahn - London had Soho. 
Due to the connivance of the Metropolitan Police, 
Westminster Council and the Government, there are 
no longer any shops in Soho selling only sexually- 
related literature. There are no filmclubs screening 
explicit adult movies. 

This may be no great loss, but it is indicative of the 
current puritanical crackdown that's taking place in 


this country. It has also caused problems. When the 
Recreational Sex industry is driven underground, 
rather than regulated by public scrutiny, a situation 
is created where gangsters, rip-off merchants and 
black marketeers of all kinds move in. This is bad for 
the police, bad for the hapless customers, and bad 
for those involved - who are far more likely to be 
treated badly and exploited and less likely to be 
given regular health checks. Thatcher's Britain 
prefers to sweep Sex under the carpet. If one 
compares the situation in Copenhagen, which has 
council-run brothels, legal gay clubs etc., with that in 
Bangkok, which outlaws prostitution and therefore 
has a terrible record of child exploitation and 
disease, one wonders why the British authorities 
adopt such an unrealistic and restrictive policy. 

Politicians can say what they like, but the bottom 
line in all political debate is the allocation of 
resources. The splitting up of the cake. And the 
State, in this allocation of resources and set of 
priorities, reveals in this way its true attitude towards 
certain sections of society, and the way in which they 
behave. The most obvious and topical case in 
question at present is how the British government, 
NHS, DHSS, scientific establishment and the media 
have reacted to the HIV virus and its spread of AIDS. 

The Syndrome was first identified by doctors in 
America at the turn of the decade, and by 1983 the 
sexually transmitted nature of the virus' spread was 
well known. In the first few years the problem 
confined itself almost entirely to gay men, mainline 
drug users and a relatively minuscule number of 
haemophiliacs. Information about the disease was, 
however, left largely to the gay press, the Terence 
Higgins Trust charity and a handful of aware doctors 
in STD clinics. Despite warnings from the USA, which 
were heeded in countries such as Holland and 
Sweden, the British government left it more than 
three years, until the end of 1986, to take serious 
action. Was it coincidental that this happened just as 
health experts warned that the disease had started 
to spread into the heterosexual community? At the 
time, it was estimated that over 50,000 British people 
had already been infected with the virus. Besides a 
few thousand haemophiliacs, a few hundred junkies 
and only six heterosexual women, all these 50,000 
were thought to be gay men. 

When the evidence showed that heterosexuals 
were becoming at risk, the government allocated £4 
million to fund 21 AIDS related projects (only four of 
which were engaged in looking for a cure for the 
disease.) To put this into perspective, this sum 
represents the equivalent of one third of the cost of 
one Tornado fighter, of which the RAF have 220. At 
the beginning of 1987, £20 million was spent on an 
advertising campaign warning about the disease 
(compared to the £40 million spent on advertising 
shares in British Gas a few months earlier). One 
survey showed that the public thought the 
government had reacted well to the threat, though 
the gay press wondered publicly why the 
government had waited so many years to take 




“BRAZIL” • 203 


action. And why was its research budget one of the 
lowest per capita of any Western country? Why 
hadn't the government acted three years earlier, 
when the problem was perceived as being almost 
solely one for homosexuals? At least, at last, 
'ordinary' people were being made aware of the 
problem, even though the battle against 'ignorance' 
was fought not with Durex - who the IBA initially 
refused permission to advertise on TV - but with 
volcanoes and icebergs. 

In February '87 Junior Health Minister Edwina 
Curry spoke her Government's mind at a speech in 
Liverpool. “Good, Christian people don't get AIDS," 
she assured the nation, and went on to say that 
“only people who misbehave are at risk". It seems, 
then, that as the virus only affects what one must 
logically assume from her speech are bad, godless 
people who obviously disagree with the perverse 
pseudo-Victorian values of the Government, there is 
no reason for their health to be any concern. 

Meanwhile, that other pillar of the establishment, 
the Christian Church, set about offering constructive 
advice on the problem. "The AIDS 7V adverts 
encourage sex amongst the young," boomed one 
helpful Catholic Bishop, adding that the tombstone 
shape used in the ads was “too phallic". (Quite how 
the threat of death and the allure of a gravestone 
encouraged sex was not made clear.) A vicar in Kent 
refused to allow the burial of a young gay victim of 
the disease in his graveyard, saying “We don't want 
people like that buried here. “ True compassion. 

There are many pleasant, well-meaning people 
involved with the Christian Church, and the faith and 
rhetoric it generates may be very helpful to many 
people. But the hard fact, like it or not, is that the 
Church is the enemy of Freedom of Choice. When 
faced with difficult, real issues, the Church always 
agrees with the concept of interference, rather than 
persuasion by example. As it is a supposedly Christian 
set of morals which are the foundation of the State's 
attitudes to sex and sexuality, it is always the 
followers of the Church in this country who 
persecute any sexually (or otherwise) identified 
minority. So, "good" reasons are always drummed 
up to support such persecution. British Communists 
are bugged as they are assumed to be in league with 
the Anti-Christ in Moscow; gays are victimised and 
denied entry to the Church as Ministers as they 
pervert youngsters and spread disease; anti-Semitism 
is still rife as the Jewish faith opposes the validity 
and power of Christ; videos are censored to protect 
children from being led astray. And so it goes on 
(and on). 

Although we do not want to dwell on the 
question of AIDS, or the persecution of male 
homosexuals, in recent years it is this group of 
individuals who have suffered most obviously as the 
State looks for 'deviants' and minorities to make 
scapegoats of - and it is their experience that 
provides a classic example of how 'free' we really are 
in the last decade of the millennium. 

In December '87, under pressure from Tory 


backbenchers, the Government sneaked a new clause 
into the Local Government Bill - a bill which, in 
itself, went further in taking power from 
democratically elected local councils and transferring 
it to Whitehall than anything that had gone before. 
Clause 28 said that local councils would now be 
"prohibited from the teaching in any maintained 
school of the acceptability of homosexuality..." and 
barred from "intentionally promoting 
homosexuality" in any way. 

Incredibly (or not), the Parliamentary Labour Party 
supported the Clause, though their spokesman Jack 
Cunningham expressed reservations, asking if the 
public realised that the new legislation might 
prevent school and public libraries from stocking 
books by such eminent authors as Truman Capote, 
Oscar Wilde and Gore Vidal - all of whom described 
and 'promoted' homosexual lifestyles. Only one Tory 
MP - Michael Brown - opposed the Clause. 

On the 9th January 1988, 12,000 people took part 
in an OLGA march demonstrating against Clause 28 
in London. During the peaceful demo 20 people 
were arrested - two men for kissing in public, and 
others for carrying offensive weapons, the 
"weapons" being flag poles used to carry banners. 
The Sunday Mirror, Britain's only supposedly 'left 
wing' tabloid paper, devoted one column inch on an 
inside page to the march. When 40,000 
demonstrated against the Clause in Manchester, 
most national papers ignored the event completely. 

In March '87 Barrister Adrian Fulford reported that 
“since the advent of AIDS, it seems that the number 
of arrests of gay men has gone up. And, whereas 
before most people arrested for importuning were 
normally cautioned or bound over without the case 
coming to trial, now it is more the case that the 
prosecutors insist that cases go to court." The 
self-righteous, religious right wing have manipulated 
public opinion so brazenly since the appearance of 
AIDS that homosexuals in some areas are being 
treated in the same bigoted and often violent 
fashion as were Jews in Germany in the years 
preceding WWII. Rugby Council in Warwickshire 
refuse to employ homosexual men; an HIV carrier in 
Southampton has been banned from using his local 
council swimming pool; hundreds of gays have lost 
their jobs, and, since 1985, polls show that in the 
1985/87 period, reported attacks on gay men 
increased by 1,000 percent. 

The lesson to learn is that, whenever an excuse 
crops up which allows society to vent its true, barely- 
concealed hatred of any individual who seeks to live 
in a slightly different fashion, all civilised concepts of 
compassion, respect and tolerance go out the 
window. The gloves come off... 

Or, in the case of the police, the gloves go on. 
Many gay men have reported that in recent raids on 
gay clubs, police have worn surgical gloves and joked 
about not wanting to touch any 'queers' when 
arresting them in case they catch the disease. (Our 
police are wonderful.) 

Pressure is mounting from reactionary groups on 




204 • RAPID EYE 1 


all sides, particularly within the government. The 
Conservative Family Campaign, supported by a 
number of Tory MPs, is calling for a repeal of the 
1967 Act which legalised homosexual acts between 
consenting adult men in the privacy of their own 
home. Though not, incidentally, in the privacy of 
their hotel room or any other 'public' place. 
(Homosexuality was still illegal in N. Ireland until 
1982. It is also still illegal on the Isle of Man). 

Geoffrey Dickens MP - a Tory backbencher - is not 
a member of the campaign, but he nevertheless has 
a lot to say about the subject. "The family life of this 
country is eroding," due, he says, to liberal sexual 
attitudes. “Homosexuals entice and corrupt others 
into their unnatural net. The 1967 Act should be 
repealed." When asked about the question of Civil 
Rights, the exceptionally well-proportioned person 
says "We have to interfere with civil liberties to do 
what's right," (don't they always) "...normalpeople 
are appalled about the way homosexuality is 
spreading in this country.” But how would such a 
change in the law be enforced? "Policing such a 
change in the law would include closing down all 
gay and lesbian clubs and pubs and limiting certain 
publications." 

Would this enforcement include police raids on the 
private bedrooms of adults living together who were 
suspected by the police of being homosexual, one 
wonders. "Oh yes,” he replies. "Absolutely." 
(Incidentally, Dickens has also been calling on the 
Government to introduce laws which will effectively 
ban any 'occult' practice in Britain. Something that 
would be constitutionally impossible for the Federal 
government to do in America, but is easy to do in 
free-thinking Britain.) 

Such a change in the law would inevitably mean 
fewer gay men attending clinics for check-ups, for 
fear of a visit from policemen like the afore¬ 
mentioned James Anderton. This would no doubt 
facilitate the spread of diseases like AIDS. So, 
although Public Health is the excuse, it seems that a 
bigoted idea of 'Public Decency' is the real question 
behind such a change. 

The Conservative Party is said to be seriously 
considering making such a change during their next 
period in office. Should the law be altered, police 
would be given even more discretionary powers to 
stop and question individuals, read minds, confiscate 
books, and raid private property. At the same time 
diverting manpower from the fight against rape, 
murder, mugging and other violent crimes that we 
are told are the threats that they are there to 
protect us from. The protection of the individual 
from physical attack, and the protection of his or her 
civil rights, are obviously not as important as 
implementing laws that are considered 'right' by a 
few hundred absolutist MPs and the Government's 
ventriloquist dummies in the Tory-owned right-wing 
press. 

As a society, the British seem far less worried 
about the threat of violence than the perceived 
threat posed by people who think differently. 


Whether they be gay, communist, vegan, pagan, or 
'mad'. 

The threat that worries us as a Society is not that 
these or any other factions may somehow violently 
overthrow the systems to which we adhere, but that 
they may actually convince us that they are right. 
There may be ways of living which may be more 
practical and enjoyable. Why else would we harass 
peaceful organisations like CND, or make illegal 
certain sexual acts between adults? This is why 
alternative lifestyles and literature are treated with 
contempt and derision in the popular press. This is 
why we are encouraged not to think or act 
differently. This is why there is hardly ever any talk 
about what happens to people when they have 
mental problems. 

Incredible as it may seem, there is now a growing 
body of opinion within the psychiatric profession 
that holds the previously unthinkable view that there 
is no such thing as mental illness unless the brain is 
injured or diseased, just variety and deviation in 
numerous - sometimes extreme - forms. Although 
this revolutionary opinion may be erroneous, and 
does sound something to be debated by eager 6th 
Form sociology students, the point is that over the 
years anti-social behaviour of all kinds in an 
individual has been seen as being the result of some 
vague mental "derangement". (Up until the 1920s, 
we still used to lock up epileptics, people who were 
catatonic, homosexual men and even unmarried 
mothers - who were thought to have a mental 
illness which explained their lack of morals.) Oddly 
enough, the behaviour of an individual is often the 
only 'proof' of any cerebral disorder we have, while 
at the same time the disorder itself is sometimes 
explained as originating from such behavioral 
experience. Although diagnosis and treatment of 
mental illness is undoubtedly well-intentioned, a 
Free Society must be very careful when it diagnoses 
people as being sick without their having any 
physical damage. Often, it seems that the basic 
criterion we have forjudging mental disorder seems 
to be how inconvenient the person has become to 
their family, friends and doctors. No clear or 
consistent distinction has ever been made between 
criminals and mentally sick offenders, but a mental 
patient is robbed of even more rights - we even 
assume the right to tamper with the workings of 
their mind without their informed consent. 

Of course, even in a free society, some such 
decisions have to be made. However, in a truly free 
and caring society, adequate safeguards which make 
incarceration of sane, anti-social people impossible 
should be in place. The files of the Mental Health 
charity MIND would suggest that in Britain, they are 
not. 

It's generally believed that nobody here can be 
committed to a mental institution against their will 
unless several psychiatrists commit a patient referred 
to them for the protection of society as a whole. Not 
so. Under Section 4 of the Mental Health Act 1983, 
a Social Worker can apply for someone to be 




“BRAZIL” • 205 


admitted and detained against theirwill if they think 
it necessary. Only one Doctor, a G.P. who may never 
before have met the 'patient' or have had any 
specialist training, is all that is now required to have 
a person forcibly admitted. Once the G.P. has given 
the go-ahead, the (usually old) person concerned can 
be forcibly taken from their home (usually by police 
and social workers), detained in a secure hospital, 
and forcibly drugged. 

The 'patient' is left totally at the mercy of the 
doctor concerned, who can administer drugs such as 
neuroleptics which may be detrimental to his 
longterm general health. (Although any patient is to 
some degree at the mercy of his doctor, people with 
physical illness and injury have the right to refuse 
treatment, discharge themselves from hospital, or ask 
for a second opinion. Mental patients do not.) When 
they are diagnosed, often inaccurately, all their usual 
rights are taken away. Doctors, obsessed with the 
idea of 'psychosis', are often keen to treat behavioral 
difficulties with a flood of chemicals and little else. 

The Mental Health Act does not forbid people 
other than doctors from administering drugs. Prison 
officers, nurses and health workers at mental 
hospitals forcibly administer drugs to inmates daily. 
The only legal right they have to do this is in cases of 
"urgent necessity" when the patient (or, it seems, 
prisoner) is unable to give his informed consent. (If, 
for example, he had been injured and was 
unconscious and therefore unable to agree to the 
administration of life-saving drugs.) 

In reality, even when patients and prisoners are 
quite conscious, and involved in no urgent life or 
death situation they have no right to refuse 
injections of drugs. Such anti-social people, whether 
they can be called insane or criminal, are easier to 
handle when they are drugged up to the eyeballs, so 
the practice is widespread and officially condoned, 
though not publicised. 

Despite persistent calls for reform, the government 
has not altered the law, and in passing the 1983 Act, 
threw away an opportunity to make the medical 
establishment and DHSS more accountable for its 
treatments and give more recognition to the 
question of individual patients' rights. In typical 
fashion, the British Government has, at the same 
time, been highly critical of the forcible drugging 
and incarceration of subversive and difficult 
individuals in other countries. 

GOD'S POLITICS 

The present Conservative Government is the most 
marvellous political animal to emerge in this country 
in the last 40 years because it has learnt first to 
influence public opinion, then reflect it. At least, 
reflect the parts of it which it finds useful. 

There has been a media-manufactured change in 
attitudes towards Public Morality in the last few 
years, and in any country, such shifts in Public 
Opinion have a nasty habit of showing up as 
changes in the law. (Clause 28 is a classic example, in 
that it reflects rampant homophobia induced by 


AIDS.) Such changes also show-up in the way in 
which the State spends the tax payers' money. 

For example. The government feels it wants to 
spend more money on the Police Force, so as to 
combat social unrest caused primarily by its uncaring 
economic programme and enforce its plethora of 
restrictive new laws. It cannot justify this vast 
increase in spending to the electorate in the light of 
the huge cutbacks in Health and Education, so it 
must carry support for such spending. The Police 
Force, happy to oblige as it always wants more 
muscle, concocts crime figures which show a crime 
wave of tidal proportions. So, in the 1986 statistics 
for example, there are hundreds more rapes than in 
1985. In fact, as the Police later admitted, there were 
probably not, but methods of cataloguing reported 
rapes had changed, giving a misleadingly large 
apparent increase. 

Of course, even in a democracy, the private 
attitudes and morals of an individual have nothing 
to do with changes in the law at all. What matters is 
Public Opinion. Public Opinion and Individual 
Morality are often confused. Public Opinion can be 
changed by whipping up hysteria in the news media, 
and by releasing distorted statistics. The private 
morals of each individual cannot be changed quite 
so easily. We live through our media, and in the 
media world, Public Opinion is formed not through 
a collection of independent thought or informed 
debate, but by the media's image of Public Opinion. 
The opinion represented in the views of a thin 
stratum of society - the 'personalities' who feature 
on TV, on radio, and in newspapers. 

For the majority of people it's probably fair to say 
that their image of Public Opinion is drawn solely 
from the reporting of Public Opinion - usually by 
people with political axes to grind. Most 'news' is in 
fact taken up with the opinions of publicity-seeking 
individuals. (For example, in the report 'Mass Media 
& N.Ireland' it was found that the largest category of 
'news' coverage of the province was devoted to the 
speeches and interviews of politicians.) 

So in Britain today there exists a genuine silent 
majority of people who, for instance, don't really 
mind about people cavorting around Stonehenge or 
watching sexually explicit films or having their 
genitals pierced or setting up pirate radio stations or 
picketing at closed factory gates. These people are 
told that they are in a minority. They do not get on 
TV shows. Their privately held opinions are not held 
by those in power. They cannot argue against all the 
evidence, and anyway, a public silence breeds a 
private fear of speaking up in public against the 
government and what must be the majority. So, 
although the majority really don't want to see our 
traditional rights eroded, the minority that sees itself 
as the guardian of Public Morality manipulates and 
amplifies publicly voiced opinion as loudly as 
possible, so as to excuse its excesses. 

In areas of finite fact, such as the physical sciences, 
successful deviations from the accepted norm are 
called 'inspiration'. Deviants who challenge what is 


206 • RAPID EYE 1 


accepted, and prove it to be wrong, are given Nobel 
Prizes. Their research is encouraged and their 
findings are supported with tangible physical 
evidence. 

In areas of Art, Morality, Philosophy, Theology and 
so on, practically no opinion, vision or revelation can 
be supported by physical evidence of any kind. The 
only chance one has of encouraging evolution is to 
convince the majority of people that what one thinks 
and does may be interesting and beneficial. That 
changes can be made for the better. The only way 
one can do this is through the imaginative use of the 
communications media. Through cinema, novels, 
magazines, paintings, newspapers, music etc. When 
such free forms of expression are denied and 
censored, progress is made impossible. Everything is 
geared towards support for the present system, 
however limited and unsatisfactory that system may 
be. Everyone must pay lip service to it. To the idea of 
retrogression rather than advancement. To static, 
septic status quo rather than illumination and 
change. 

In the current climate, where morality is seen in 
the monochrome, it is Human Evolution itself which 
suffers. When you distort reality and censor the 
media, changes in people's perceptions become 
impossible. In scientific terms, radical changes in 
what is accepted as being fact is called a paradigm 
shift. A paradigm is, quite literally, a frame of 
thought (from the Greek word 'paradigma' - 
pattern). So a paradigm shift is a new way of 
thinking about our old problems. The interesting 
thing about paradigm shifts is, of course, that with 
the passage of time, each 'shift' eventually becomes 
the established mode of thought and naturally 
becomes redundant itself whenever a new shift 
occurs. A shift is evoked by someone. At first 
(perhaps for decades) it is scorned by adherents to 
the old paradigm, but it is eventually accepted as 
being a reasonable framework within which to 
operate. So in evolutionary terms the concept of 
such shifting of the 'truth' provides the perfect 
argument against blind faith, dogmatism and 
censorship, as each paradigm seems to have an 
in-built self destruct mechanism. That is, each 
framework, each idea, each answer, throws up 
another idea, another question. New pieces of data 
turn up that don't fit into the old frame of 
reference, so eventually you are left with a mountain 
of questions that cannot be held within the structure 
of the old paradigm and - pricked by a Cezanne or 
an Einstein - it bursts open. The unsolved questions 
flood into a new frame of reference to be answered, 
and so it goes on until the next shift. Sadly, in social 
terms, this evolutionary experience can no longer 
happen in Britain. 

The truth is that we live in a society that cannot 
accommodate progressive change. This country had 
started to make some real advances in the years 
between the end of the war and the introduction of 
Thatcherism. The invention of the NHS, the 
improvement of the educational system, the 


relaxation of many unjust laws and so on. It still had 
a long way to go, but it might have got there. The 
reason this slow progress was stopped was because 
it was decided that we could not pay for our 
advancement. As usual, the World Banks saw to that. 
Now the Conservatives have rolled things back nearly 
a century, to make the country backward, isolated, 
but safe in its ignorance. The Capitalist State has 
recuperated any longterm changes quite successfully. 
The present Government have proved that we are a 
society that will not look at the present and into the 
future, but cling to an image of the past. Politicians 
on both the left and right preach censorship, 
ignorance, and the need for adherence to outmoded 
values and ways of thinking. The church, meanwhile, 
believe that the ancient principles and methods of 
living are sacrosanct, and can be applied to the 
problems of today. The legal system and social 
climate reflect all this in an icy permafrost, where 
the only movements made are small and always 
backward. All ignore the theory of evolution. The 
theory that makes credible and necessary the need 
for individuals to be able to express themselves, 
research life for themselves, vent their views and 
experience new sensations so as to allow for, 
encourage, and inspire change. Growth. Progress. 

We live in a country run through fear by 
yesterday's men. Men who control through a myriad 
of mummified, unfathomable laws underlined by the 
threat of real physical violence and deprivation. Men 
who do this not necessarily because they are evil or 
stupid, but because they are so conceited as to be 
convinced that they are right, and that the ends 
justify the means. 

The reason for the State's absolute belief in itself 
is deeply rooted, and stems from its symbolic 
relationship with Religion. 

From Egypt, Babylon and Greece - the areas from 
which Christianity most heavily borrowed - come the 
schematic idea of humanised gods. Gods who made 
laws and ruled the Earth. These deities had to be 
pleased, so that crops would grow. Clever leaders of 
dominant groups seized on the idea well, and 
claimed divine and mysterious links with the gods. 
So, it's not surprising to find that the first legal 
system ever recorded - in Babylon - was said not to 
have been drawn up by a man, but by a God. King 
Hanmurali (2067 - 2025 BQ said that the law had 
been given to him by Merduk (not just any god, but 
the Babylonian version of the later, all-powerful 
Greek god Zeus.) And so, although throughout 
history the names of the gods and the details of the 
laws have changed, the concept remains the same. 

The Head of State in Britain is the Monarch, who is 
also head of the Church of England. Bishops are 
given automatic seats in Parliament (in the House of 
Lords) and any laws passed by MPs cannot become 
law until they are rubber-stamped by the Monarch 
(given 'Royal Assent'). Implied associations with God, 
and with what is Good, are everywhere. So, by 
inference, that State is given the right to rule. 

From clever King Hanmurali onwards, God has 




“BRAZIL” • 207 


become inexorably connected with the State. God 
has become politicised, and the appeal of God has 
been utilised by all those who seek to exercise 
control over others. 'His' laws have been propagated 
and freely adapted by people who claim, perhaps 
not to have spoken to him, but through a study of 
his laws (an association with the Church) have 
therefore assumed not only their right to control 
others, but a monopoly on morality. So all wars are 
holy wars and all laws are good laws. The more laws 
we have, the better we must be. It's lovely! 

Regrettably, this unspoken association with All 
Things Bright and Beautiful has led us into a 
situation in which those who are convinced they are 
right, must believe to some degree that everyone 
else is wrong. In the ultimate Nanny State, their poor 
souls must be saved and they must be made to 
behave. Naughty children. 

As Britain's position in the world has slumped, the 
temptation has been for governments not to look 
forward and tackle today's problems in a realistic 
manner, but to look back, to a golden vision of the 
country when everyone knew their place and when 
it ruled a quarter of the planet. In a simpleton's 
equation, the current government have sought to 
encourage and enforce a return to old values of the 
Victorian era, as if social retardation to a blatantly 
unjust and uncaring time would by some weird 
science restore Britain's world status. 

This notion is not only a fallacy, it is indicative of 
the survival instinct of the State Machine. To this 
enormous, almost abstract entity, individual people 
do not matter. So if, for the system to run smoothly, 
individuals have to submit to injustice, unnecessary 
hardship and lack of liberty, it doesn't matter. So 
long as the image of a squeaky-clean, new British 
Motherland emerges. Not strong in itself, but 
appearing strong and wholesome to the outside 
world again. A strength measured not in individual 
liberty and contentment, but in share prices and 
nuclear warheads. 

Our civilisation is locked into the dialectic of 
Conflict and Competition on an international stage, 
and the preservation of its control in the domestic 
area at all costs. In this nuclear age, where 
co-operation and compromise are the real keys to 
survival, our system is clearly as dangerous as it is 
outmoded. 

As research and reform are relegated, civilisation 
itself suffers. Education, Art, Literature all take a 
back seat, as individuals who seek to express new 
ideas are gagged. People who do not conform are 
made to look foolish, and even criminal, so the new 
criminal class is not composed of violent gangsters or 
rapists, but people who sell books and make films. 
Of old ladies who protest at Greenham and Civil 
Servants who reveal the truth about the workings of 
our Government. 

Our story is truly a chilling one. A sad and 
depressing one. Think about it. The country that was 
once the Cradle of Democracy and the birthplace of 
the fairest legal system in the world has been 


damaged, perhaps beyond repair. The long term 
consequences, not only of the Government's new 
laws but of its disregard for the truth are genuinely 
crippling to both Individual Liberties and to the 
social health of the nation. We are left with only a 
false external appearance of democracy, manifested 
in long queues to the ballot box every five years, 
giving our support to one idiotic set of values 
against another. Our choice is totally controlled and 
predicted by the system to which we have submitted. 
A system which elevates megalomaniacs and liars to 
superstardom. 

In systematically lying more so than any 
government in modern times, in editing and 
covering-up the truth, Thatcher, and to a lesser 
extent, John Major and their cronies have created 
what communication scientists call a 'disinformation 
situation'. In America, Paul Watzlonick and others 
conducted experiments during which totally sane 
people were lied to in a systematic and calculating 
manner. The results were that the subjects started to 
behave with all the irrationality of schizophrenics 
and paranoid patients. I would suggest that this is 
starting to happen now, as people abandon all hope, 
and all interests in politics and the structures of this 
society. This has the effect of leaving more space for 
the insidious and unchecked growth of centralised 
power, more distant and less accountable than ever. 
The rise in narcotic and alcohol abuse, suicide and 
violent crime is a product not of TV, but of 
alienation and mistrust of a system that denies 
people any hope. 

Few realists would argue the need for some 
reasonable and generally agreed laws and levels of 
policing those laws. We all want protection from 
violence and intimidation, warnings about exposure 
to dangerous drugs and so on. This is not the issue 
here. What we are discussing is a heavily disguised 
undemocratic use of power. Of blind assumptions 
that the preservation of the present social system is 
a paramount importance, and the belief that the 
elected government's own narrow set of values are 
so perfect that any serious dissent must be silenced. 

Have we not illustrated that we condone an 
educational system that openly indoctrinates 
children? That our belief in 'good' and 'evil' has 
been so perverted that adherents to the State's 
dictums actually believe that they have the 
monopoly on godliness, justice, good taste and 
common sense? That we have created a bureaucracy 
that assumes the right to interfere in people's 
private lives and sit in judgement on even the most 
noble acts of any individual? Are we not saddled 
with a blatantly undemocratic electoral system which 
will not be overturned by those who ride this same 
system to total power, and an all too often corrupt, 
stupid, violent police force and a demonstrably 
biased, unjust and senile legal structure? On top of 
this, history shows us to be stuck with a 
governmental monolith that exists supposedly to 
serve the people and administer to their well being, 
but which has grown into a latterday Godking. To be 




208 • RAPID EYE 1 


served (particularly during times of war) and 
serviced. Our sense of freedom is abstract, our 
feelings of oppression are all too real. 

The system is not perfect, and all governments 
have their faults, but this present government has 
changed all the rules, and is getting away with it. As 
Stuart Bell pointed out, John Donne may have had 
a lot to say on the matter. 

The government tolls the bell for egalitarianism in 
a society that we once believed was opposed to 
authoritarianism. It tolls the bell for liberties that are 
known, understood, and were once enjoyed by all of 
us. It tolls for our children. They will be brought up 
in a society that takes as a matter of course arbitrary 
searches of people’s homes without warrant, the 
interception of private mail, seven days' detention 
without charge, 3 months' imprisonment without 
trial, regular deaths in custody, systematic 
roadblocks, plastic bullets fired on children, the 
outlawing of peaceful demonstrations, trial without 
jury and enforced drugging of prisoners, the 
effective removal of the right to strike or picket, the 
abolition of local democracy, the banning of books... 

Perhaps the last words should go to an outsider, 
who can provide a more objective view. In this case, 
American Professor Ronald Dworkin, an international 
commentator on politics, philosopher and a lecturer 
based in Oxford: “A truly civilised society is vigilant 
about the question of civil rights. The number of 
minorities which are hated in this country is 


indefinite. Each person who is in some way or 
another a member of a minority - not only black 
people, not only homosexuals - but people who hold 
unpopular convictions of all sorts, have got to band 
together. The/ve got to say that they're not going 
to allow it when on every possible occasion people 
use some trumped-up excuse as justification for 
tearing the veneer of civilisation away." 

But the words of the Tory ad man repeat on the 
video machine, cold and hollow... "Man is born 
free... his natural state... his God-given right. 
Nowhere is this tradition more deeply rooted than 
in Britain... we are a proud nation of individuals... 
Freedom has been both our strength and our battle 
cry..." The television beams lies to a nation that 
doesn't believe anything anymore. 

Since Thatcher's move to the House of Lords, the 
lesser of two monsters, John Major, has introduced 
new laws that criminalise trespass squatting and New 
Age travellers, and effectively outlaw religious 
festivals at Stonehenge. 

Our claims to be the most free country in the 
world have no validity any longer. We hold these 
truths to be self-evident. 

This is the last of England. 



The Future. 

(photo: Stop Sizewell ‘B’ Association) 




SEX, CRIME AMD THE OCCULT 


Colin Wilson 


I was recently re-reading my Origins Of The Sexual 
Impulse, written more than twenty-five years ago, to 
see whether it is worth republishing. Within twenty 
pages, I had become convinced that the problems I 
discuss there are more relevant than ever. In 1981, a 
22-year-old sex killer called Steven Judy was executed 
in Indianapolis for the murder of a mother and her 
two children; before his execution, he admitted that 
he had killed more women than he could remember, 
leaving a trail of bodies across the United States. In 
recent years, the American police have become 
aware that killers like Steven Judy are an increasing 
problem. They are known as 'serial killers', and they 
travel around the country committing murder as 
casually as a different type of criminal might rob gas 
stations. They may not travel around; California's 
'freeway killers', who murdered and raped more 
than forty young men, stuck roughly to the same 
area. In nearly all cases, the basic motivation of serial 
killers is sexual. 

But why is it happening? Why are such crimes - 
rare when I wrote the book in 1963 - becoming 
increasingly frequent? We even have a recent 
example in England, in Dennis Nielsen, who killed 
fifteen youths. 

Origins Of The Sexual Impulse raises the basic 
question: what is sexual perversion, and how and 
why does it develop? The name of the Marquis de 
Sade appears again and again. And two years after 
it came out, the Moors murderer Ian Brady revealed 
in court how deeply he had been influenced by de 


Sade. In fact, de Sade might almost be regarded as 
the patron saint of serial killers. 

De Sade's basic argument is that sex is one of the 
greatest pleasures in life, and that every man and 
woman has a right to as much of it as they can get. 
To de Sade's contemporaries, that proposition meant 
a great deal more than it does to us, because most 
of us take it for granted that sex is pleasant and 
harmless. Sade's contemporaries were still dominated 
by the Catholic Church. They felt that, strictly 
speaking, sex is 'forbidden'- except in the marriage 
bed - and that adultery and fornication are a kind of 
delightful poison that should be taken only in very 
small doses. De Sade shocked everybody by arguing 
that if sex is a delicious poison, that is only another 
reason for taking it in very large doses. What made 
it worse was that de Sade claimed to be a 
philosopher, and argued his case with great 
intellectual seriousness. It was rather as if a modern 
dietary expert should write a book urging that we 
should all eat exactly what we want, especially cream 
cakes, saturated fats and sticky sweets. 

There is, as de Sade recognised, a basic problem 
here. For human beings, sex tends to be enjoyable 
because it involves surmounting certain social 
barriers. For a male, all the pretty girls he went to 
school with, all the girls he passes in the street, are 
forbidden fruit. If he was Flaroun Al Raschid, he 
would order his Grand Vizier to escort most of them 
to his bedroom. But he isn’t, so he has to get used to 
the idea that he is allowed to look, but not touch... 



210 • RAPID EYE 1 



Illustration from de Sade's ‘Justine’ 


But if, as de Sade suggests, we break down all the 
social barriers and make sex more easily accessible, it 
becomes less fun. De Sade agrees. His answer is: seek 
out new barriers to surmount. Find ever more 
'forbidden' kinds of sex. He himself seduced his 
wife's sister, and hired prostitutes to allow him to 
flog them and inflict other indignities. To the 
objection that this will also become boring 
eventually, de Sade replies chortling: "No, there are 
always plenty of forbidden things to do.“ 

De Sade symbolises the central question of sexual 
perversion. And my own analysis of perversion - 
from harmless forms of fantasy to sexual murder - 
led me to a conclusion which I will try to summarise 
as follows. When we ask the question: What is sexual 
perversion? we are envisaging sex as a kind of 
continuous scale, like a thermometer. At Zero lies 
sexual 'normality', the kind of sex that the 
Archbishop of Canterbury would approve of. 
Between Zero and '10', there are various mild 
deviations from the norm, beginning with 
masturbation, harmless forms of fetishism, and so on. 
Masochism comes next; then the milder forms of 
sadism, then more violently aggressive behaviour in 


which the sexual partner becomes a 'victim'. De Sade 
did his best to get higher still, with perversions like 
shooting pregnant women out of canons. 

It struck me that this narrowly sexual view of the 
problem is a mistake. At its best, the sexual orgasm 
is a kind of explosion of light - a combination of 
energy and insight. Yet the same is true of what the 
philosopher is trying to achieve. And the scientist. 
And the artist. And the saint. De Sade's great 
mistake was in failing to see that the 'Zero' point on 
the thermometer is not 'normality'. A man who had 
devoted his life to trying to achieve that explosion of 
energy and insight might pass through point Zero, 
seeking entirely different methods of achieving his 
aim. Most saints and mystics, for example, begin by 
renouncing sex, or at least abstaining for a certain 
period. For de Sade, that was an incomprehensible 
absurdity. 

However, a mystic who has achieved his ‘explosion 
of light’ would assure de Sade that it really works. 
Sex in itself is a ball and chain in the search for the 
‘explosion of light...' 

The truth is that long before I wrote my first book 
The Outsider in 1955, I had already arrived at my 
own conclusion about the purpose of life. It was the 
highly unfashionable view known as Vitalism', and 
it had been expounded by Henri Bergson, Bernard 
Shaw and Hans Driesch. T. E. Hulme expressed it 
clearly in an essay on Bergson. The force we call 'life' 
is attempting to 'insert' itself into matter, and so to 
achieve more freedom. The amoeba could be 
regarded as a small leak through which freedom 
could be inserted into the world. Fishes are bigger 
'leaks', animals bigger leaks still, and (on Earth at 
least) Man is the largest leak so far. The philosopher 
is a man who is deliberately setting out to enlarge 
the leak. 

De Sade found sex one of the best ways of 
enlarging the leak. When he had experienced a 
violent orgasm, it made him feel more free. But the 
intensity of the orgasm depended on the sense of 
'forbiddenness'. He had better orgasms with his 
sister-in-law than with his wife because she was 
supposed to be taboo... He reasoned that if he could 
find some ultimately forbidden sexual act, he would 
have an orgasm to end all orgasms, and turn into a 
kind of god... 

It was, in a way, quite sound reasoning. But de 
Sade was leaving one important factor out of 
account. The man who makes a habit of doing 
'forbidden' things will begin to see himself as a 
criminal. And a criminal is, by definition, someone 
who does 'wrong'. He sees himself as an outcast 
from society. He may shake his fist and shout 
defiance, but in doing so he is acknowledging that 
society has the right to treat him as a pariah. A man 
in this state of mind cannot experience any true 
sense of freedom. He is trapped in a thoroughly 
limited view of himself. No sooner is the orgasm over 
than he ceases to feel like a god and feels like a 
naughty schoolboy. 

And this is precisely why Steven Judy stood up in 




SEX, CRIME & THE OCCULT • 211 


court and demanded to be executed. He was, 
apparently, a fairly intelligent individual. Yet he had 
committed acts that made him an outcast, and which 
he knew he would go on committing as long as he 
was alive. His personal evolution had reached a dead 
end. The same applies to many other habitual 
criminals - as I have pointed out in my Criminal 
History Of Mankind. 

We can see that the increasing problem of criminal 
violence - particularly the problem of 'serial killers' 
- is the de Sade problem blown up to horrifying 
proportions. Most serial killers are vagrants, without 
a home or a regular job. Life offers no exciting 
challenges, no interesting obstacles to overcome. The 
daily pattern of experiences is a dreary, predictable 
round. But the sexual itch remains as persistent as 
ever. The act of sexual violence offers a momentary 
'high'. Then the greyness closes in again, like a fog... 
The basic problem here, of course, is lack of 
direction. But then, this a problem that faces us all. 
Compared to many animals on the surface of this 
Earth, man is a fairly young creature - no more than 
a few million years old. Most of that time he has 
spent fighting grimly to stay alive. And then, quite 
suddenly, he created civilisation. His intelligence had 
constructed a form of security such as no other 
animal had ever achieved - even the great dinosaurs 
lounging on their tropical beaches. It makes him lose 
his sense of direction. I remember talking to a man 
who had worked on the Burma railroad as a prisoner 
of war; his picture of their sufferings was graphic, 
and he made it clear that every one of them 
dreamed of freedom. Yet now he had his freedom, 
he was wasting it - drifting from pub to pub and 
drinking far too much. He had already lost his sense 
of direction... 

From The Outsider onward, I had been obsessed by 
this problem. Why do we lose sense of direction so 
easily? Why can we not cling on to it? This problem 
of maintaining a sense of direction is the greatest of 
all challenges to our intelligence. Why can we not 
solve it as we have solved so many other problems? 
Why can we not seize that vision of the 'explosion of 
light', the sudden moment of insight, and use it as a 
compass that would prevent us ever becoming bored 
or depressed or discouraged? 

Because an American publisher asked me to write 
a book on the 'occult', I began to study the evidence 
for the paranormal. I began by assuming that most 
of it was self-delusion or wishful thinking, but it 
didn't take long to realise that the evidence for 
telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, ghosts and 
poltergeists is as strong as the evidence for the 
existence of atoms. And suddenly I realised that fate 
had given me a nudge in the right direction. My 
study of the paranormal proved one thing beyond 
all doubt: that the powers of the human mind are 
far greater - and far stranger - than we generally 
think. I have written very widely about these powers, 
as well as more 'specialist' books about witchcraft, 
poltergeists and psychometry. 

But there was one subject I have always been 


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inclined to avoid: the problem of life after death. A 
few years ago I was asked to write a book on 
reincarnation. I was tempted for a while, but when 
the publisher took an unconscionably long time 
producing a contract, I was glad to make it an excuse 
to drop the idea; I felt I couldn't apply to it the high 
standards of investigation and analysis I had set 
myself in The Occult. 

Two years ago, another publisher asked me if I 
would be willing to write a book investigating the 
evidence for life after death; after some initial 
reluctance, I agreed. I should explain that this was 
not entirely a matter of scepticism about the 
evidence. I knew that some of it was very convincing 
indeed. Yet the same applies to Flying Saucers, and 
I am not particularly interested in Flying Saucers. My 
own feeling is that it would certainly be a very 
pleasant bonus if 'survival' proved to be a reality. But 
it doesn't have much to do with the 'existential' 
problems we face when we open our eyes every 
morning. For Human Beings, the basic problem is: 
what are we doing here, and what are we supposed 
to do now we're here? To reply: 'You will continue 
to live in another world after your death' seems 
totally irrelevant. 

I must also admit that I expected to find much of 


212 • RAPID EYE 1 


the evidence too silly for words: 'spirit' messages 
from Aunt Edna saying 'Don't forget to wear your 
woolly underwear dear', and that kind of thing. 
There was, indeed, a certain amount of 'that kind of 
thing'. But it was unimportant in comparison to the 
more interesting evidence. Briefly, this falls into two 
categories: evidence of so-called 'near-death 
experiences', in which people believe they have, in 
some sense, died and then 'returned', and evidence 
through 'mediums' that certain people have survived 
death. The evidence for 'near death experiences' is 
dubious because it obviously is possible that it was 
all some kind of dream or illusion, perhaps some 
psychological defence mechanism against death. But 
when taken together with the second kind of 
evidence, the case for 'survival' began to look very 
convincing indeed. 

The 'near death experience' (usually abbreviated to 
NDE) has become the subject of a great deal of study 
in recent years. An American doctor, Raymond 
Moody, collected the accounts of 150 p